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Undefeated UP return to UAAP Final after squeaking past scrappy La Salle

Kyle Magdato struck gold early in the second half as State U remain unbeaten in the UAAP tournament. Denver Lachica/Dugout Philippines (file)
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- Undefeated top seed UP returned to the Final of the UAAP men's football tournament after scraping past fourth seed La Salle with a close 1-0 win in the second semifinal on Thursday night at the Rizal Memorial.

After a goalless first half, the Fighting Maroons responded with a huge bang, with a 47th minute strike by junior Kyle Magdato the lone difference between them and the Green Archers as they seek to win their fourth title in the decade when they face UST in the final next week.

The attacking midfielder converted a flick by Kintaro Miyagi inside the box and fired a low shot past Paeng De Guzman to remain unbeaten for the fifteenth time of asking, to put them within ninety minutes from college football immortality on the first Thursday of May

"From the very beginning, it's all about going a notch higher in terms of performance," UP gaffer Anto Gonzales said minutes after the match.

The scoreline flatters Gonzales, as they dominated the entire match and they have a lot of chances to put the match away in the latter stages, with Miyagi and Raphael Resuma had their efforts blocked by De Guzman who had played their final college game along with Noel Brago and Nicholas Villacin.

"We have to learn how to have our killer instinct. When we scored the goal, we stopped attacking. Kaya medyo nabuhayan ang La Salle," he added.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada