Ateneo de Manila University got even against University of Sto. Tomas (UST), 1-0, in a heated rematch of last year’s first division finals in the opener of the Ang Liga Season 15 on Saturday at the De La Salle-Canlubang Football Field in Biñan, Laguna.
Xavier Alcuaz scored the lone goal via header in the 34th minute as the Blue Booters enjoyed an early lead in the league and avenged their bitter 0-1 defeat to the Growling Tigers in the previous season’s championship match.
It was a highly-physical game all the way to the closing minutes, wherein things ended up in a fierce confrontation.
The España-based booters tried to salvage a draw in the final minute but goalkeeper Enrique Ortiz parried away a penalty kick by Gino Clariño.
UST’s Zaldy Abraham came up with a dangerous challenge on Ateneo’s Rupert Baña, which emptied both benches into a fracas.
When the match was put in control, Abraham and Iñigo Herrera were slapped with straight red cards.
Meanwhile, Jose Antonio Morada blasted a brace to power Don Bosco Technical College past Ateneo’s reserve team, 3-2, in the second division.
Morada struck twice in the second half as the Grey Wolves stunned the much-favored Ateneo side for the first maximum points.
“Actually, we’re not looking for any goal because we have a very young team. I just told them (players) to go with the options, never give up and just enjoy the game,” said Don Bosco head coach TJ Arenal.
The two clubs were on a 2-2 standoff seven minutes after the restart until Morada notched the match-winner in the 81st minute.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA