UAAP Football: Murayama lifts Ateneo past UP
Yu Murayama saved the day for Ateneo, who edged UP, 4-3, to take a 1-0 lead in their UAAP men's football finals series.

Photo by Kevin dela Cruz/RivalsPH

MANILA, Philippines — Not once, but twice.

Yu Murayama struck twice for Ateneo de Manila University as the Blue Booters escaped with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over University of the Philippines in Game 1 of their 75th UAAP men’s football finals series Thursday, February 21, at the Moro Lorenzo Field.

Murayama scored the 83rd minute equalizer then put Ateneo over the hill in a gripping shootout that drew them just one game away from a sixth championship.

The Fighting Maroons, champions in three of the last four seasons, led just before the half, erecting a 1-0 advantage after a Vincent Aguilar goal.

But less than 10 minutes away from securing the win, UP’s defense fell into a maze of errors, allowing Christopher Sumulong to throw a cross to Murayama, who calmly headed the ball past Maroon goalie Ace Villanueva.

The Maroons had more chances in the first half of extra time, but both free kicks fell straight into the waiting arms of towering Ateneo goalkeeper Nick O’Donnell. 

The Blue Booters almost padded the lead in the last 15 minutes of extra time, firing three attacks that Villanueva and UP’s defense foiled, leading to the penalty shootout.

Diliman skipper Deo Segunial opened scoring for the Maroons but Eric Figueroa tied it after drilling it past substitute Tyrone Caballes. Fe Baya then put UP on top, 2-1, but Miguel Tuazon knotted the count at 2-all. 

Michael Simms and Mikko Mabanag both got denied by O’Donnell and Caballes, respectively, before Reymark Fernandez and Carlo Liay scored to make it 3-3. 

With the match on the line, O’Donnell turned Gabe Mendoza back to roll the carpet for Murayama’s game-winner. –