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UST dethrones Ateneo in extra time thriller

The entire UST bench celebrates the extra time winner of Conrado Dimacali (middle, #7) that dethroned Ateneo as UAAP Men's football champs. Denver Lachica/Dugout Philippines
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- There will be a new name to the UAAP Men's Football trophy after Sto. Tomas left it late in extra time to depose Ateneo by the smallest of winning scorelines in the first semifinal Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial.

A fortnight after burying his father, substitute Conrado Dimacali rose to the occasion and headed home a 105th-minute winner for the Growling Tigers, who return to the final for the first time in six years and ended the Blue Eagles' reign as UAAP champions.

It also got their revenge from last season when they were booted in the same stage by the then-top seeded side en route to their seventh title.

Both sides failed to find the net in normal time, with Ateneo the aggressor in the first ninety minutes and had the chance to go ahead, but  Jeremiah Rocha's 68th minute strike was nullified by the linesman's flag.

Marjo Allado's men had few chances in the entire match, but its defence led by centre-half Ian De Castro and netminder Zaldy Abraham kept the game scoreless to force another half-hour of football in the scorching heat of Adriatico.

That changed towards the end of the first part of extra time, when a corner by Austin Alianza caused a scramble in the box, where Julian Roxas' botched clearance finds its way to Dimacali who headed it into the left corner that sparked massive celebrations in their bench.

The Blue Eagles added more drama in the semifinal, when Koko Gaudiel's free kick at the death was denied by the crossbar, sealing their doom for Jaypee Merida's wards.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada