UP drops La Salle to clinch UAAP football finals berth

Santino Honasan, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Apr 26 2018 09:22 PM

Kyle Magdato (10) scored early in the second half to power UP back into the UAAP men's football finals. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Top-seeded University of the Philippines (UP) clinched their second finals appearance in three seasons after taking down De La Salle University, 1-0, in the UAAP Season 80 men’s football semifinals Thursday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

After a scoreless first-45 minutes of action, the Fighting Maroons got things going early in the second half, thanks to a masterful finish by Kyle Magdato, who scored off the rebound in the 47th minute of action.

Looking to force an additional 30 minutes of action, La Salle tried to push their offense and managed a number of opportunities to pull even, but ultimately came up short.

UP came dangerously close to doubling their lead when rookie Fidel Tacardon’s cross found Raphael Resuma for the header, but La Salle keeper Ace Villanueva was able to stop the goal in time.

At the end of 90 minutes, the lone goal was enough to vault UP back into the finals.

“More than the win, I think we performed well today. We were very patient, we showed our composure, our experience inside,” said UP head coach Anto Gonzales. “But we have to learn how to have that killer instinct. I think when we scored that first goal, we stopped attacking really. That’s why nabuhayan pa 'yung La Salle because they were aggressive.”

“Overall, we should be happy with the performance,” Gonzales added.

The Fighting Maroons remain unbeaten in their last 15 matches, but more importantly, they return to the season finale after falling in the semifinals last season.

UP now meets University of Santo Tomas, who stunned defending champions Ateneo de Manila University, 1-0, in the earlier semifinals matchup.

The UP-UST final is set for Thursday, May 3, 3 p.m. at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

This story originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website