UAAP football: La Salle overcomes Ateneo in thriller


Posted at Mar 19 2023 09:46 PM

Stephen Del Rosario celebrates with his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal for La Salle in stoppage time against Ateneo. UAAP Media.
Stephen Del Rosario celebrates with his teammates after scoring the game-winning goal for La Salle in stoppage time against Ateneo. UAAP Media.

MANILA -- Stephen Del Rosario's stoppage time header was the difference-maker as De La Salle University overcame archrivals Ateneo de Manila University, 2-1, in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Football Tournament, Sunday at the UP Diliman Football Field.

The Laguna native jumped highest to head the ball home in the 90+8 minute to lead the Green Booters across the finished line. His header gave La Salle all three points, just when it looked like Ateneo found a way to salvage a draw.

With the Blue Eagles down a goal, referee Meliton Pelayo pointed to the spot after a handball by Green Booters winger Mikio Umilin. Leo Gabriel Maquiling then stepped up and converted the penalty in the 90+3 minute of the match but the Blue Eagles ultimately failed to hold on for a point.

"They wanted to win. They never let up regardless of the time. They deserved the win. I give it all to the boys. I just give it all to the boys," said coach Hans-Peter Smit. 

"I mean maybe it helped a lot it was against Ateneo. That’s always an added boost for both teams. It just so happens it could have gone either way. This game could have gone either way. It just so happened na we had the better chance and we pounced on it so I give it to the boys."

Earlier in the contest, Isaac Anoh drew first blood for La Salle with a cool finish in the 73rd minute.

The match became ill-tempered in the second half, with tensions flaring after Ateneo's BJ Cordero committed a hard foul on Umilin. A scuffle broke out between the teams, with Cordero and Christian Peñalosa getting dismissed for their roles in the fracas.

La Salle now has 10 points to rise to third place in the standings, after putting together three wins, two losses, and a draw. 

On the other hand, Ateneo fell to 4th place with 10 points but with a -1 goal difference after three wins, two defeats, and one draw.

UST scores crucial win over Adamson

Meanwhile, Stephen Marasigan led the way in University of Santo Tomas' vital 1-0 win over Adamson University, also on Sunday.

The Lourdes School of Mandaluyong alumnus scored the match’s lone goal in the 42nd minute of the match to secure all three points for the Golden Booters.

Marasigan’s goal, his third of the season, was the perfect response for UST after back-to-back losses against De La Salle University and University of the East before this match.

"Again yung si Mara, siya nanaman ulit yung nag-save ng team aside from his teammates pero dahil sa kanya nanalo yung UST," said coach Marjo Allado.

Adamson, though, almost scored the opener as Demnes Nikko Arañas’ attempt from outside the box was denied by the crossbar.

The result meant that UST ended the first round with 7 points behind two wins, one draw, and three defeats. In contrast, Adamson failed to tally a single point after losing six straight matches.

"Siyempre yung panalo ngayon versus Adamson sobrang importante for UST kasi nag-boost ng confidence and at the same time, nagbigay ng three points eh kasi nasa bottom two kami," added Allado.

"Marami kaming aayusin before mag-start second round kasi if this is the way we play — look at the fitness of the players tapos walang direksyon minsan yung mga pasa — hindi ka makaka-survive sa second round. Hindi ka makaka-qualify sa semifinals."