Text and photo by: David Tristan Yumol
MANILA – The University of the Philippines survived a tough stand on Saturday against the National University, 1-0, in the UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football Tournament at the Moro Lorenzo Field, Ateneo De Manila University.
It took 66 minutes before the Diliman-based booters scored a goal courtesy of star striker Jinggoy Valmayor, who tallied his ninth goal of the season, continuing to be the league leader in the number of goals.
“I admit we had a bad outing in this game. Our passes failed to connect in scoring for the goal,” UP coach Anton Gonzales said. “Luckily, a good feed was sent to Jinggoy which escaped us for this win,” he added.
The first half ended with both teams failing to create good plays to score a goal, capped by frequent exchange of ball possessions.
UP had an opportunity to score early in the second half but Valmayor missed a penalty kick during the 52nd minute as his shot went above the box.
The Sampaloc-based booters tried to salvage a draw in the latter part of the second half but UP goalie Nathaniel Villanueva showed his defense prowess and saved all the botched attempts from NU.
“We need to have a solid midfield for the next game because that’s what (we lack) in today’s game,” UP midfielder Daniel Gadia said. “We also have to exert more effort in having more opportunities to score,” he added.
With the win, UP regained the top spot in the team standings with six wins, two draws, and a loss for a total of 20 points.
NU, meanwhile, suffered their second loss, with two draws and four wins to show to record 14 points.
UP will next face defending champions and last year’s finals tormentor FEU Tamaraws on Thursday at the FEU Diliman pitch.