National University (NU) struck in opposite halves as it toppled Ateneo De Manila University, 2-0, to claim the top spot in the second division of the Ang Liga Season 15 collegiate football tournament on Tuesday night at the Moro Lorenzo Football Field.
Karim Taala and Lemark Unabia both scored at the tail end of each half as the Bullpups swept the five-game elimination round.
With the clean sweep, NU’s juniors squad seized the pole position with 15 points heading into the semifinals.
The unbeaten run of Jose Mari Aberasturi’s young booters saw them conceding only a single goal while notching 19 goals for themselves.
Ateneo juniors’ football team, on the other hand, absorbed its second straight loss and third overall against a lone win.
With the sorry defeat on their home turf, the Blue Eaglet Booters were put on the brink of elimination as they only had three points to show from four matches.
Ateneo was left trailing behind fourth-running Malayan Colleges Laguna, which also holds three points but has a higher goal difference.
Taala capitalized on a scramble inside the penalty box as he fired home the opener in the 44th minute.
With fresh legs coming off the bench, NU continued pressing its attack in the second half, getting clear chances in the last seven minutes of regulation.
The Bullpups’ aggression finally paid dividends when Unabia tapped in a blocked free kick for the insurance goal in the stoppage time.
Meanwhile, Ateneo pulled off a 3-1 victory over University of the East to enter the magic four of the top division on Monday at the same venue.
The Blue Booters nailed their third straight win and fifth overall against three defeats as they ran past San Beda College on No. 4 with 15 points.
The Red Warriors, after a three-game losing skid, remained No. 7 with seven points built on two wins and a draw.