Returning Diamante lifts DLSU to UAAP Menís Football Finals
Santino Honasan on Mar 01, 2015 04:44 PM
The returning Gelo Diamante emerged as the hero for first place De La Salle University, as his late goal lifted the Archers past rivals Ateneo de Manila University, 1-0 in their UAAP Season 77 Men’s Football Semifinals match Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Field.
As was with their previous two meetings this year, DLSU and Ateneo were engaged in a tight contest that saw both squads go scoreless in the first half. Each side was presented with a handful of chances to get on the scoreboard, but both keepers were on point in keeping their goals safe.
The scoreless trend continued up until late in the second half, until DLSU coach Hans Smit decided to insert a familiar face off the bench.
Gelo Diamante checked in late in the half for his brother Gio, and within a matter of minutes, provided the difference-maker for the Taft-based booters.
With around two minutes left to go in regulation, Diamante, who missed several games due to a broken clavicle, found himself open and fired off a shot from outside the penalty box and into the back of the net, much to the roar of the DLSU faithful in the arena.
The Blue Eagles tried to salvage their hard-fought season and force added extra time, but the Eagles ultimately could not find the equalizer.
When the final whistle sounded, the Green Booters rushed to the field in celebration, as they are going to the UAAP Men’s Football Finals, a feat that they have not done since Season 68. Aside from that, they remain unbeaten in Season 77.
“I had a mission, coach gave me a mission. It was a risk, actually, since I’m still a bit injured, but I trusted coach, and coach trusted me, and the team played so well, so the goal was the result of the team.” Diamante told ABS-CBN Sports.
DLSU now awaits the winner of the semifinal matchup between second place Far Eastern University and third place University of the Philippines.