by Edison Ubaldo
Veteran-stiker Gerardo Valmayor led an early counter-attack to score the lone goal of the game and lift University of the Philippines to a much needed 1-0 win against first round tormentor Far Eastern University Sunday in the UAAP Season 75 Men’s Football Tournament.
Valmayor struck the game-winning goal in the ninthth minute after the Maroon booters caught FEU’s defense off guard.
The Tamaraws dominated ball possession in the first half but could not capitalize as they had a hard time figuring out UP’s frontal defense.
Valmayor again had a good look at the net in the 40th minute but his consecutive shots were both deflected by goalkeeper Jestoni Celeste.
FEU’s Alex Rayos brought scare in the 45th minute but his shot were a few inches off the goalpost.
A brilliant pass by Nathaniel De Guzman in the 69th minute left Valmayor open inside the box with Celeste away but was not able to capitalize as his shot went out of bounds.
Valmayor continued to hound FEU’s defense and finding the back of the net in the 75th minute but was called for offside.
Rookie Carlos Monfort also struck late in the second half but was called for an illegal shot.
“We changed tactics. Defended deep and tried to look for the counter,” said UP Head Coach Anto Gonzales of the adjustments he made after suffering a 3-0 first round thrashing at the hands of FEU.
UP currently stands fourth in the standings but a win on Wednesday’s final elimination game against La Salle would garner them at least third depending on the result of the encounters of third-running FEU and second-running Ateneo against University of Santo Tomas and National University, respectively.
“We want to finish as high as possible (in the eliminations) and try to reach for the twice to beat advantage (in the semis).
A win by UP and a loss by FEU and ADMU would push the Maroons on top followed by ADMU, DLSU, and FEU for the final four spots.