MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Booters clinched a finals berth by defeating defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles after extra time, 1-0, on Thursday, April 26, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The last time UST was in the UAAP men’s football finals was in Season 74, but the España-based squad then lost to the University of the Philippines.
In the 105th minute, UST opened the scoreline as Conrado Dimacali headed in an open goal after a scramble in the 6-yard box.
The Blue Eagles made a last ditch effort to defend their title and push the game to penalties in the 116th minute. Jarvey Gayoso took the free kick that sailed over the bar. In the 119th minute, Koko Gaudiel sent a free kick that hit the crossbar.
This marked the last game of graduating Blue Eagles Paolo Alilam, Mike Castillo and Gaudiel.
The UST Golden Booters finally advanced to the Finals after 3 years of being stuck in the last 4. As the veteran team will be bidding farewell to its 7 graduating players, this has become the motivation of the team this season.
“Sabi namin sa mga players na pinakamaraming mag-gragraduate na players is UST, so yung motivation lang sa kanila is no more next year,” said head coach Marjo Allado.
(I told the players that UST has the most number of graduating players, so the motivation is that there is no more next year.)
Ateneo had the upperhand in the first half as it held most of the possession but failed to convert its chances.
Both teams came close to opening the scoreline in the last stretch of the first half as Enzo Ceniza sent a cross from the right flank in the 45th minute, but it was intercepted by Zaldy Abraham
After Abraham sent the ball back to the UST side, the Golden Booters threatened AJ Arcilla who went the line to make a save. Arcilla spilled the ball which led to Jean Clariño firing a shot off the rebound that sailed over the bar (45+1′).
Both teams had explosive starts to the second half which turned physical as Julian Roxas and Austin Alianza got booked with yellow cards.
In the 68th minute, Gayoso curled a free kick into the box and Jayrah Rocha connected it to the back of the net from the 6-yd box, but was caught offside.
The game was pushed to extra time after regulation time ended with a blank scoreline. – Rappler.com
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