Ateneo Secures First Win with Dela Cruz's Spectacular Strike in UAAP Men's Football Tournament

Ateneo Secures First Win with Dela Cruz’s Spectacular Strike in UAAP Men’s Football Tournament

In a thrilling showdown at the UP Diliman Football Stadium, Ateneo de Manila University clinched its first victory in the UAAP Season 86 men’s football tournament with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

The decisive moment came when Jet dela Cruz unleashed a powerful strike from long range, catching UST goalkeeper and captain Jose Miguel Abada off guard 30 minutes into the game. Dela Cruz’s spectacular goal proved to be the difference maker, sealing the victory for the Blue Eagles and earning them their first three points of the season.

Ateneo’s head coach, JP Merida, expressed his delight at Dela Cruz’s stunning goal, highlighting the player’s consistency in training. “I didn’t expect that long shot,” remarked Merida. “But, of course, in training, he does that always. My coaches always say that Jet can score those kinds of goals because he does it all the time in practice.”

Despite several opportunities to extend their lead, Ateneo was unable to capitalize further, with captain Leo Maquiling and striker Kofi Agyei narrowly missing the target. On the other hand, UST had its chances to equalize, with Carlos Miguel Orale’s header hitting the post and Francis Jay Vercide missing a late opportunity.

With this crucial victory, Ateneo climbed to second place in the standings, boasting four points and a plus-1 goal difference from one draw and one win. The Blue Eagles are now focused on their upcoming match against the UE Red Warriors, scheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m. at the same venue.

On the other hand, UST suffered its second loss in three matches, slipping to fifth place in the standings with three points and a minus-1 goal difference. The Golden Booters are determined to bounce back in their next fixture against UE on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the same pitch.