League leaders Ateneo de Manila University settled for a 1-1 draw against University of the Philippines in the Sunday’s opening fixtures of the UAAP Men’s Football Tournament second round at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
It was Kintaro Miyagi who gave the Fighting Maroons the lead in the 32nd minute. Kyle Magdato’s shot past AJ Arcilla was going wide when last season’s top scorer came from nowhere to pounce the ball in.
But Ateneo answered back in the 65th minute. Julian Roxas was already through on goal, but his shot was saved by Ace Villanueva for a corner. Jarvey Gayoso took the corner and sent it to an unmarked Jeremiah Rocha, who then headed it in for the equalizer.
The officiating took center stage after the equalizer. UP could have been 2-1 up in the 73rd minute when a mad scramble resulted in the ball going in to the back of the net. However, the linesman surprisingly raised his flag for offside and cancelled the goal, leaving UP coach Anto Gonzales furious until after the match.
“F——— officiating. You can quote me on that,” said an irate Gonzales after the match. “It was the f———, lousiest officiating that I have ever seen. That goal, offside? Paano yun naging offside, may tao sila sa poste.”
The Fighting Maroons were also given a seemingly unfair call in the 57th minute after a UP counter-attack was neutralized by an errant offside call which the referee reversed.
“The officiating did not do justice to us. Definitely,” added Gonzales.
While Gonzales lashed out at the officiating, Ateneo coach Jaypee Merida expressed his concern about his team’s mentality going into the latter stages of the match. Despite getting the equalizer, Ateneo played it safe and settled for the draw instead of going for the win. Ateneo remain undefeated in first place with 20 points while UP are in third with.
“After we scored, nandoon na ‘yung mindset nila na to hold na sa our half, to defend na, to finish this game for a draw,” said Merida. “Still, I’m happy with the result because they worked together.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University snapped National University’s three-game winning streak with a 2-1 win in the first game. Alex Rayos opened the scoring for FEU in the 14th minute. Lawrence Colina equalized for NU from the free kick in the 22nd minute. Audie Menzi won it for the Tamaraws with a 53rd minute strike. FEU, like Ateneo, are undefeated and are in second place with 18 points.
The UAAP Men’s second round continues this Thursday at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field in Quezon City. University of the East face University of Santo Tomas at 2 PM followed by the match between De La Salle University and Adamson University at 4 PM. — CAL