MANILA, Philippines – Fierce rivals Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University will contest the UAAP Season 81 men's football championship, after beating separate opponents in the Final 4 on Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football pitch.
La Salle dethroned defending champion University of the Philippines (UP), 2-1, behind a stunning goal from rookie Shanden Vergara in the 77th minute.
The Green Archers opened the scoring in the 20th minute via Jovan Marfiga, but King Miyagi soon equalized for the Fighting Maroons.
But Vergara came through with an impressive goal in the 77th minute, beating two UP defenders and their 'keeper to push La Salle ahead.
"I'm very happy that I scored in an important game, and we're on our way to the finals," said Vergara.
Meanwhile, top-seeded Ateneo defeated Far Eastern University (FEU), 1-0, in the other semifinals pairing behind another brilliant goal from Jarvey Gayoso.
After a nervy first half that saw them struggle to deal with the Tamaraws' pressure, the Blue Eagles made the adjustments in the second half. Mark Nacional delivered a cross to Gayoso, who turned for the strike that gave Ateneo the lead in the 70th minute.
It turned out to be the lone goal of the game, but it was enough to send the Blue Eagles to the finals against the Green Archers.
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