Surging NU scrapes past UST, Ateneo stays on top with goalless draw vs FEU in UAAP football

NATIONAL University scraped past University of Santo Tomas, 1-0, to notch its third straight win in the UAAP Season 79 men’s football tournament on Thursday at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo. 

Picking up the pace after a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs got rewarded with the breakthrough goal as Mike Arbella scored on the 55th minute after a UST error from the midfield.

That goal proved to be enough for the Bulldogs as they defended well for most of the second half before Chris Maverick Perocho stepped up as he made some key saves to salvage all three points for the Bulldogs. 

The Tigers had two good chances to get at least a point but Conrado Dimacali and Darwin Regala's attempts didn't go past Perocho as time expired.

"Like nung last two games na nanalo, dun pa rin kami sa low defending. Pero madami pa rin kulang talaga, di pa rin satisfied kasi kung tingnan niyo, the last 20 minutes ang dami naming binigay na heading sa pangalan," said head coach Mari Aberasturi.

"If we want to continue winning, kailangan yung mga details na yan maayos talaga. Happy dahil nanalo, pero di pa talaga satisfied," he added. 

The win pushed the Bulldogs to fourth place after one round as they improved to 10 points. 

The Tigers, on the other hand, stayed at fifth with seven.

Meanwhile, league-leader Ateneo and Far Eastern University settled with a goalless draw in the second match at the Moro Lorenzo Field.

The draw allowed the Blue Eagles and Tamaraws to finish as the top two teams after the first round as Ateneo improved to 19 points while FEU moved to 15 points. 

"We expected to have a tough match, that's what we had today. They're very organized, I just wished we did better with our chances," said FEU coach Vince Santos.

"We look forward to seeing them again," he added. 

But while the match was lacking in goals, it wasn't lacking in action as the game picked up in the homestretch with chances coming aplenty for both teams. 

The closest one came for FEU when Paolo Bugas picked a streaking Dave Deloso on the left flank in the 84th minute only to be denied by Ateneo keeper AJ Arcilla.

Deloso and Arcilla were once again in contact before the 90th minute, but it did not end well for Deloso, going shoulder first to Arcilla's knees on the counter forcing him to leave the match on a stretcher. 

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Leo Liay also had his chances late, but FEU keeper Ray Joyel had the best of him in each attempt.

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