Charles Barberan's conversion of a penalty kick in the 11 th minute was all it took for the Negros team to get past Cavite FA yesterday to march into the finals tomorrow against Davao for the inaugural title of the PFF Smart U22 National Championship at the Panaad Stadium.
With two key players serving a one game suspension due to accumulated yellow cards, NOFA head coach John Carmona said the changes in their first eleven affected their offense.
Still, the 1-0 win against the NCAA champions from Arellano University, who composed the Cavite lineup, was an added prestige to the host team, Carmona said.
While defense was tight and timely interceptions foiled Cavite's attempts to press on towards the goal, Carmona said finishing remained a problem to them.
“We're doing good with the corners and set pieces but we need to work on our finishing,” Carmona said.
After sitting out the semifinal yesterday, defenders Joshua Dotusme and Regie Cineros will be back tomorrow for the championship match.
Equally preparing for the 3 p.m. final tomorrow is Davao FA, who turned back Misamis Occ.-Ozamiz FA, 5-2, in the other semi final match.
Despite the win, Davao head coach Ramonito Carreon said the team had some difficulty adjusting to the afternoon heat at the Panaad Stadium yesterday but they were able to adjust and went out to dominate MICOFA.
Against the host team NOFA tomorrow, Carreon said they will give their best and do some adjustments in their game plan.
“The Negros team is strong and they have the home advantage. They have foreign players. But football is a unique game with both teams having a 50-50 chance. We will just do our best,” Carreon said.
Of the five goals made by Davao yesterday, four were scored by Warren Ravanes in the 6 th ,38 th , 55 th , and 71 st minute while James Enegente accounted for the other goal in the 70 th minute.
Paul Sarahit scored Mizamis-Ozamiz goals in the 25 th and 90 th minute.
With one match left in the competition, NOFA president and host Ricky Yanson called on the Negrenses to come to the Panaad tomorrow for the championship game.
Playing for third place at 8 a.m. tomorrow will be Cavite FA and MiCOFA.
The finals will be preceded at 1:30p.m. by the friendly match between the Negros Occidental and Iloilo elementary teams that will see action in the Negros Island and Western Visayas regional meets, respectively.*NAB