Salenga bails out NU to remain atop UAAP Football standings

ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 18, 2016 07:44 PM
Salenga bails out NU to remain atop UAAP Football standings
NU's Paolo Salenga (in white) scored a game-tying goal in the second half to draw FEU and keep the Bulldogs out of the loss column

Paolo Salenga came up with a game-saving goal midway in the second half to help National University hold defending champions Far Eastern University to a 2-2 draw, Thursday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Field in Ateneo.

Five minutes into the match, National U looked like they were set to pick up where they left off after winning their first two matchups as Chima scored on an early header form a Salenga free kick to give the Bulldogs an early advantage.

The lead wouldn’t stand long though, as an open Eric Giganto blasted one in from outside the box to even things up at the 21st minute. 

Breakout rookie Rico Andes put the pressure on NU before the halftime break, as he scored his third goal of the season in the 36th mark and put the Tams ahead, 2-1.

NU would be reduced to a man down just before halftime though, as Uzoka was booked for his second red card of the match after inadvertently delivering a head kick to FEU’s Paolo Bugas.

It looked as though the Bulldogs would suffer their first loss of the season, until Salenga played the hero and bailed NU out with an equalizer in the 58th mark of the match.

With a lot of time left, and the score tied, it was anyone’s match to win, but neither squad could come up with another conversion, and the Bulldogs escape with their first draw of the season, while FEU figures in their second one of the year.

Salenga, who credited his teammates, saying that he would not have been able to score if it wasn't for them, also said that Uzoka’s red card helped fuel their effort on the pitch.

“Nung may na-red card sa amin, parang mas nag-double effort pa kami na magtrabaho, kasi kulang kami ng isa eh.” Salenga told ABS-CBN Sports. For the NU senior striker, the draw still provides the Bulldogs with a confidence boost.

“Nakaka-boost siya kasi wala pa kaming talo, para ituloy-tuloy lang namin. Dapat maging consistent kami sa performance namin.”

For Bugas, he feels that the Tams were a little too relaxed, given that they were facing an undermanned NU squad in the second half.

“Medyo naging kampante kami, kasi tinake-advantage namin na ten men na lang sila. Bawi na lang kami next game.”

NU holds their place at the top of the UAAP Men’s Football standings with seven points in three games, tied with DLSU, who falls just behind due to goal difference. The defending champions on the other hand sit tied at third place with UST, both having a win and two draws each for five points. 

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