Ateneo finishes elims on top of the table

League-leaders Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles ended the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Football Tournament regular season with a 3-1 win over the slumping Far Eastern University Tamaraws.

Jarvey Gayoso scored his ninth goal of the tournament, as Feliz Gaudiel and Carlo Liay added one each to hand the Blue Eagles the win at the Moro Lorenzo Field. In contrast, Dominique Canonigo’s strike wasn’t enough to turn the tide for the Tamaraws.

Unlike their past duel, Ateneo head coach JP Merida was happy with how his players had performed this time. “This game talaga happy ako. Ang ginawa nila is pinakita nila sa Ateneo community yung winning na hindi yung sa tricks. Yun lang siguro yung nagbago sa game na to.”

The Tamaraws were a shadow of themselves in the second round. After going undefeated in the first round, FEU lost three games prior to this duel against Ateneo. It was an interesting contrast, as the Blue Eagles have maintained their form throughout the elimination round.

From a draw in their first round encounter, Ateneo demonstrated their dominance when Gayoso headed the ball into the FEU net after 32 minutes of action. It was a fine goal after some fantastic attacking play from the Ateneans, as they brimmed with confidence in the game.

Not to be undone, the Tamaraws snatched a leveler in fortuitous fashion five minutes after conceding. Blue Eagles center-back Jeremiah Rocha failed to clear the ball properly, which opened the door for Canonigo to rebound the ball into the net.

Both schools looked set to enter the break level, but Gaudiel had other plans. The junior made the most of the rare start as he unleashed a fantastic strike just two minutes before the halftime whistle, to hand the lead back to the Blue Eagles.

It was more of the same in the second half. Ateneo showed the deadliness in front of goal that FEU lacked. In the 58th minute mark, Liay converted from the spot after Castillo was brought down in the Tamaraws box.

With a 3-1 cushion, Ateneo simply played the game out. Blue Eagles goalie Jae Arcilla produced a wonderful save to deny a Tamaraws free kick from going into the goal. Ultimately, it was a hard-fought victory for the Blue Eagles as they look to continue their good form into the Final Four, unlike the Tamaraws, who are in disarray at the worst possible time.

Ateneo end the elimination round in first place with 35 points and shall face the University of Santo Tomas in the Final Four. Likewise, FEU end the regular season in third place with 22 points, as defending champions University of the Philippines await them in the post-season.

“Siyempre mahirap i-underestimate ang UST. During sa pre-season namin sa Ang Liga, talagang nag-perform yung UST. We need to prepare talaga. Talagang lahat dapat magperform sa semi-finals,” concluded Merida.

ADMU XI: Arcilla, Baña, Castillo, Gaudiel, Gayoso, Grierson, Liay, Lipardo, Nacional, Rocha, Haosen

FEU XI: Alcoresa, Andes, Arranguez, Canonigo, Ferrer, Joyel, Jurao, Menzi M, Menzi A, Monterona, Saldivar

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