Malaysia has always proven a thorn to Philippine football. The Philippine Men’s National Football Team still have not won against their Malaysian counterparts since the 1991 South East Asian games.
However, that drought ended today at club level. Global Cebu Football Club recorded a huge 3-2 win against Malaysia Super League team Johor Darul Ta’zim tonight at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Dennis Villanueva (27′), Shu Sasaki (32′) and Amani Aguinaldo (34′) delivered the goals for one of Philippine football’s top clubs, as Global retake top spot in Group F of the 2017 AFC Cup. On the other hand, JDT forward Gabriel Guerra’s (48′ & 83′) brace wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
“This game in the first half was a very good performance for our players,” quipped Global mentor Toshiaki Imai. “Today, we got three points. These are very big points for us.”
Deemed favorites before the match, JDT should have clinched a goal after just five minutes of action when Ahmad Bakri’s attempt was denied by the post. The incident rung alarms to the Global defense and Bakri found himself through on goal afterwards, but the home side’s goalie Patrick Deyto rushed out to clear the danger.
After the difficult period, Global rose to the challenge. Darryl Roberts headed into the side-netting which showed that the 2016 UFL Champions looked to stand toe-to-toe with the Malaysian powerhouse.
Unlike the away side, Global made good use of their momentum. In the 27th minute, Villanueva tapped in the ball to give the home side a much-needed goal and shift the game in their favor. What looked like a momentary spark extended until the end of the period.
Global’s dominance was such that Sasaki found himself through on goal and the Japanese forward calmly shot past Johor goalie Izham Tarmizi to double Dan Palami squad’s edge in the 32nd minute.
Johor were stunned. The Malaysian club has displayed their away struggles in the period — they had failed to win away at Magwe in Myanmar, and look like a side bereft of ideas whenever they play as the visitors.
Azkals defender Aguinaldo then compounded JDT’s woes when he completed Global’s counterattack and converted Roberts’ pass in the 34th minute to give the Cebu club a 3-0 edge at the break.
Upon the game’s resumption, JDT saw a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Johor had a similar start the second half, but they had an end product this time. Guerra unleashed a shot outside the box in the 48th minute that left Deyto helpless.
Global were rattled. Johor seized the initiative and drew free kicks in the home side’s half. Guerra should have brought JDT closer to a comeback, only for Deyto to stop his header with a point-blank save.
Guerra wasn’t done yet. Credit must go to the JDT players, as they did not allow their heads to drop despite the scoreline. The Malaysian club pushed for a comeback and went closewhen Guerra finished from close range in the 83rd minute to give Global a nervy end to the game.
Nevertheless, Global prevailed 3-2 in what was a landmark victory for Philippine football against Malaysia. “Maybe in the second half, everybody gave the first half too much you know? Given time we need to stay tactically wise,” shared man of the match awardee Paul Mulders.
Up next Global Cebu (9 points) is an away game against Magwe at the Thuwana Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.
Global XI: Deyto, Hartmann, Mulders, Villanueva, Aguinaldo, Minegishi, Agustien, Roberts, Sasaki, Dos Santos, Barbaso.
JDT XI: Azammudin, Amirul, Antonio, Aidil, Hazwan, Cabrera, Fazly, Azrif, Nazmi, Guerra, Izham