Ateneo, NU booters end elimination round with dramatic draw
Santino Honasan on Apr 18, 2016 04:50 AM
Rookie Jarvey Gayoso struck twice to help Ateneo hold NU to a 3-3 draw and stay alive in the Final Four race
While Ateneo and National University were facing two very different fates at the end of the UAAP Season 78 men’s football elimination round, both squads played like there was no tomorrow, battling to an exciting and dramatic 3-3 draw, Sunday evening at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig.
Playing their last game of the season after being eliminated from playoff contention once again, all that the NU Bulldogs could do was to end their campaign on a high note by taking down the Blue Eagles, who were fighting for a playoff spot.
Graduating Nico Macapal made sure that he would make an impact in his final game, as he struck early, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 advantage at the 27th minute, a precursor to what would be goal-filled first half.
Less than ten minutes later, the Ateneans would find the equalizer, thanks to a conversion from rookie Mashu Yoshioka at the 34th minute.
Just before the half was done, Ateneo went ahead, thanks to a fantastic free kick goal from another rookie striker in Jarvey Gayoso that blasted through the Nationalian wall.
Macapal wasn’t done however, as he netted his second goal of the evening, and what would be his final UAAP goal to even things up at two goals apiece.
In the final minute of regulation, it looked as though the Bulldogs would indeed play spoiler, as Marvin Viray capped off his season with NU’s third goal of the night, making it 3-2.
Frantically trying to avoid a loss in the final game of the eliminations, the blue-shirts looked for any and every opportunity to equalize, and in the fourth and final minute of injury time, an NU foul led to an Ateneo free kick.
In what turned out to be the final and most crucial play of the match, Gayoso again worked his free kick magic, firing from way outside the penalty box and sending it to the upper right corner, past NU keeper Chris Perocho’s mitts and into the back of the net for the clutch equalizer.
“That was just lucky,” Gayoso said of the game-tying free kick. The rookie however said that taking free kicks is something that the team spends time on drilling. “In the last day before our games, we always practice taking free kicks, and it paid off today.”
As impressive as Gayoso’s conversions were, the Blue Eagles needed a win to breathe easy, but as the rookie said, a draw is better than a loss.
“We really needed a win, honestly, but it’s the next best thing, than a zero. We’re hoping for a miracle. We’re done for the season, so we just have to sit back and see what happens.”
As it stands, Ateneo is in third place, tied with UST for 25 points, but ahead on goal difference.
As odd as it may seem, the Blue Eagles will need to root for rivals De La Salle, as the Green Archers face UST in the final match day of Men’s Football. Should UST and DLSU draw, Ateneo drops down to fourth place and they will need to hope for an FEU loss against UP.