UNIVERSITY of the Philippines bagged its first-ever UAAP women’s football crown after nipping La Salle, 2-1, on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Ma. Angeliza Sta. Clara scored in the 67th minute with a header from a corner kick, a cushion enough for the Lady Maroons to claim the Season 78 ladies football diadem, their first since the tournament was first held in 1996.
UP also handed La Salle its first defeat of the season after going unbeaten in the elimination round (six wins, two draws).
“To be honest, I’m not really a big fan of history. All I’m after is for the girls to really show what they are capable of, perform at their best, and they showed in the second half that they are capable of performing at their best,” said UP coach Anto Gonzales.
Cristina de los Reyes scored on a penalty kick in the 50th minute after she was brought down at the box to give UP a 1-0 lead. UP gave the lead away after defender Aira Agustin was issued a yellow card for handball inside the box.
La Salle rookie midfielder Sara Castaneda scored the tying goal off the penalty to tie the match at 1-1 in the 61st minute but would give back the lead six minutes later in the match also witnessed by the team’s top supporter Senator Pia Cayetano.
Defender Monica Louise Manalansan captured the Most Valuable Player award in her final year for the Lady Maroons.
Castaneda won the Best Striker award along with La Salle teammate Shannon Arthur. She also captured the Rookie of the Year award.
Inna Palacios of La Salle claimed the Best Goalkeeper trophy while University of Santo Tomas won the Fair Play award.
Behind La Salle's 20 points, UP finished second at the end of the eliminations with 14 points on four wins and two draws.