Host Negros Occidental Football Association blanked North Cotabato, 3-0, as they advanced into the semifinals of the PFF –Smart U22 Amateur Championship yesterday at the North Ceres Football Field in Talisay City.
The semifinals will be held with NOFA facing NCAA champions Arellano University, representing Cavite FA, at the Panaad Stadium 8 a.m. tomorrow.
Davao FA and Mizamis Occidental-Ozamis FA will battle in the other semifinal match scheduled 3 p.m. also at the Panaad.
Against North Cotabato yesterday, NOFA showed dominance as 18-year-old Nigerian striker Usman Ilimona scored the first goal for the host team in the 7 th minute.
As North Cotabato tried to plug holes in their defense, NOFA had some difficulty in finishing allowing the Mindanao team to set up a couple of good plays as they trailed 0-1 at the end of the first half.
“I reminded our players that they need to put their acts together if they want to win the game. At times, our strikers are too eager to score,” NOFA head coach John Carmona said, adding that they need to work on their finishing touches.
NOFA was more focused in the second half with Jeff Paparon scoring a scrappy goal in the 59 th minute for a 2-0 lead. Cameroon national Madi Taliform sealed the win in the 85 th minute.
“Motivation is the key on our foreign players. They listen and respond well to the instructions. The rest of the team need to be reminded that football is a 90-minute game and the first 10 to 15 minutes is crucial,” coach Carmona said as NOFA prepares for the semifinal collision against Cavite FA tomorrow.
With Usman, Paparan, and Taniform in NOFA's first elevent yesterday were Charles Barbran, Jo Warren Bedia, Kent Guevarra, Joshua Dotusme, Nessi Ramos, Geovani Santos, Reggie Cisneros, and goalkeeper Angelo Ledesma.
Meanwhile, the Ravelo Saluria-mentored Cavite FA prevailed, 2-1, after encountering strong resistance from Bukidnon FA yesterday afternoon at the Panaad Stadium.
With both teams failing to score in the first half, adjustments were made in the second half with Spencer Galasa sending the ball into net to score for Cavite in the 47 th minute.
Not to be easily intimidated, Bukidnon kept their composure with Ronald Espinosa receiving a pass just on top of the goal for an equializer.
“It was a fast game in the sense that it was anybody's game. We replaced some players in the second half and our strategy worked,” Saluria said.
Against NOFA tomorrow, Saluria said everybody knows that Negros is a strong team.
Davao advanced into the semifinals by beating Camarines Norte, 10-0, while Mizamis made it to the top four by getting past Baguio-Benguet FA, 4-0.*NAB