Davao Aguilas Football Club got its biggest result yet in the inaugural Philippines Football League season when it secured a 2-2 home draw against league leaders FC Meralco Manila at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City.
Australian coach Gary Phillips saw his side clinch a priceless point after going down 0-2 to the Sparks. As for Meralco, its 100 percent record was tarnished in the most incredible of circumstances.
Aris Caslib’s men needed just two minutes to break the deadlock. In virtually their first attacking play, the Sparks asserted their dominance when Australian midfielder Tahj Minniecon’s long-range volley went past Davao goalie Marko Trukulja.
It didn’t take long for the Manila-based club to double its lead. Another goal from outside the box handed the Sparks a two-goal cushion with just 11 minutes played when Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband’s grounder got deflected into the net.
Meralco was sailing while the Aguilas were on the ropes. Nevertheless, the game wasn’t over by any means. Against the run of play, Davao pulled one back at the 21nd minute. After Meralco conceded a foul in its half, the Aguilas launched a ball into the Sparks’ box which was converted into goal by Serbian defender Milos Krstic.
Krstic’s goal changed the game’s outlook for the home side. Davao may have been down at the break, but the Serbian’s goal aroused the giant from within. Upon the game’s resumption, the Aguilas were more confident on the ball and looked dangerous on attack.
A goal was coming and it arrived for the home side. From deep in their half, the Aguilas launched a counterattack and a neat exchange of passes from forward Gilmar Fernandez and midfielder Dylan De Bruycker allowed the latter to be through on goal and shoot past Merlaco keeper Ace Villanueva for 2-2 at the 74th minute.
Both sides had chances to clinch the winner in the game’s dying stages. The most notable of which was Younghusband’s free kick with just three minutes left in regulation. With Davao fans nervous, the former Chelsea man unleashed a powerful free kick which was turned away by the Aguilas’ wall.
It ended 2-2 in what could be a pivotal result for the Aguilas this year as the Sparks were left to lament the fact they blew a two-goal lead.
With the result, Merlaco leads the table at 16 points after six games while the Aguilas are stuck at 6th place with three points after as many fixtures.
In the day’s other fixture, JPV-Marikina continued their push for the title with a 1-2 away win against Ilocos United at the Quirino Stadium in Ilocos Sur.
Goals from Alen Angeles and Takumi Uesato propelled Marikina to just a point behind Meralco. On the other hand, Chima Uzoka’s goal failed to turn the tide for struggling Ilocos.
Photo from FC Meralco Manila Facebook page