|AJ Arcilla (#1, in grey) kept a clean sheet for Ateneo, surviving an onslaught of FEU attacks for the whole 90 minutes. (file photo)|
By Earl Averilla
QUEZON CITY--A tightly contested match between two undefeated sides ended goalless as Ateneo and FEU maintain their respective standings as UAAP Season 79 Football's first round comes to a close in the Moro Lorenzo pitch
Ateneo and FEU both started without their key players as the Blue Eagles missed Jarvey Gayoso who was suspended due to accumulated yellow cards while the Tamaraws missed John Renz Saldivar owing to his dismissal in their draw against UE last Sunday.
The first half was mainly dominated by the Tamaraws as the Morayta-based squad created chances from their possession play and quick passes towards the home team's box. The Blue Eagles though was disciplined and well-composed in defence to thwart the threats with keeper AJ Arcilla coming up big with crucial saves.
The highlight of the first half would have to be a 20th minute free-kick by FEU's Val Jurao as his powerful strike just narrowly whizzed over the crossbar.
Ateneo's front-line toiled much during the early proceedings as Gayoso's absence was felt as it significantly diminished their cutting edge and creativity in attack, with Julian Roxas came closest for the Blue Eagles, with his effort went a foot wide of RJ Joyel's right.
The second half was more evenly matched as both teams applied the necessary adjustments to their game with both sides enjoying several chances. The Tamaraws even had a shot (or a cross) that bounced off the crossbar, while the Blue Eagles had several efforts in their opponent's box that were either squandered big time or just lacked the finishing touch. One thing cannot be denied though as both Arcilla and Joyel stepped up for their schools to stay in the game and keep their clean sheets until the end of match.
A significant stoppage of play was merited approaching the 88th minute as Tamaraw Dave Deloso needed medical attention due to a collision with Arcilla.
With the stalemate, Ateneo and FEU end the first round with undefeated records intact, as the former kept their four-point gap with the latter after seven matches.
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