Defending champs University of the Philippines and runners-up University of Santo Tomas battled to a 1-1 draw to split points in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football Tournament in a second go of last season’s finals, Thursday afternoon at the FEU Diliman Football Field.
The match was forcefully disputed up until early in the second half, when Daniel Saavedra handed the Fighting Maroons the 1-0 lead in the 50th minute, beating keeper with a light tip to score goal.
The UP lead was short-lived however, as striker Steven Anotado, who entered as a substitute in the second half, linked on a tip of his own to help pull the Growling Tigers even just four minutes later.
The rest of the match would be a carnal takeover, and the Growling Tigers came close to flouting the deadlock in the very last minute of regulation with a hike taking place just mere inches from the UP goal before the Fighting Maroons were able to knock the ball away.
By the end of 90 minutes plus four additional minutes of injury time, the score stood at one goal respectively.
UST gains to two wins, four draws, have one loss for ten points to close out the first round of the men’s tournament. UP, in the meantime, carries a two-match losing slip and moves to two wins, one draw, and two losses for seven points in the season.
UP head coach Anto Gonzales perceives the draw as a step in the right direction.
“I thought this was an improvement from the last match. We showed more drive, UST is a physically strong squad and they’re good in aerial challenges, and they practically won a lot of balls and they really took advantage of their strengths, but credit to the boys, fighting UST toe-to-toe even if we were the less physical squad,” added Gonzales.
“One of the objectives was to not let the opponent score first, because three of our four games, the opponent scored first. We wanted to be the ones to score first, unfortunately we had a lapse in defense that allowed to opponent to score,” Gonzales concluded.