FC Meralco Manila commenced the post-Younghusband age with a 1-2 home loss against Global Cebu Football Club, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Global coach Akbar Nawas explained, “Everyone thought it would be a walk in the park without the Younghusbands but it was not the case. It was a tough match.”
Just a few days after the club announced that stalwarts James and Phil Younghusband were to join Davao Aguilas after six years of service, a lot of local football fans were curious as to how the Sparks would deal with the latest developments.
Unfortunately for the home side, it was Global which got on the front foot after Serbian defender Milan Nikolic accidentally put the ball into his own net after just 17 minutes of action. Both teams then traded blocs as their goalkeepers Patrick Deyto and Ace Villanueva produced fine saves to keep the scores as is.
Another goal was coming, though, and it came in the form of Simon Greatwich’s equalizer at the 44th minute. The two clubs entered the break level and had much to play for the in the next period. With the game so tight, Nawas elected to bring on OJ Clarino for Misagh Bahadoran.
Clarino’s entry in the game proved to be a masterstroke from Nawas as it was the former University of Santo Tomas Golden Booter who gifted the lead to Cebu at the 68th minute. From a Jerry Barbaso cross, Clarino eluded his marker and headed the ball past Villanueva to change the game’s tide.
Clarino had another chance on goal to kill off Meralco soon after he scored, but Villanueva denied him with a good stop. Nevertheless, Global held on for the 1-2 win as Meralco had much to ponder about after the stinging defeat.
“Everyone in the team has to step up, but it’s a process. If we all do our job well we can succeed,” shared Manila coach Aris Caslib after the game.
Meralco still sits at second place with 27 points while Global is closely behind them at third place and 25 points.
Global-Cebu will host the hapless Ilocos United on Saturday, August 5 at 4:00pm. This will then be followed by the Manila derby pitting Meralco-Manila against Kaya-Makati at 7:00pm. The latter will be played at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Photo from Global-Cebu FC