CARMONA, CAVITE — By all accounts, Mike Ott had a dream start to the 2020 season of the Philippines Football League sponsored by Qatar Airways.
He scored the tournament’s first goal, leading United City to a 1-0 victory over the Azkals Development Team yesterday at the PFF National Training Center in Cavite.
“We had our plans, we wanted to play our game and we scored our goal. We let the ball move and keep the possession. I think we did very well today,” said the 25-year-old.
Football in the country was put on the backburner because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After several months, local sports fans were treated to a fiercely-contested match. United City sought to prove its superiority, while the ADT wanted to demonstrate that they can keep up with the big boys.
Twenty-five minutes into the game, the fixture and the competition itself enjoyed its first goal, and in spectacular fashion. Ott latched on to a pass from his brother, Manu, and unleashed an impressive strike from outside the ADT box.
If you’re gonna open the season with a bang, then that’s the best way to do so.
“Between the lines, Manu gave me a nice pass and I tried to go in front and I saw the ball. And when I shot, I knew directly that was a goal,” explained the Filipino-German midfielder.
Unfortunately, though, Manu was also part of the game’s nastiest moment.
While going for the ball late in the second half, the 28-year-old performed a clumsy tackle. He floored ADT defender Simen Lyngbo, forcing referee Clifford Dapuyat to show him a red card.
“There was like a challenge and everything, and then we’ll figure it out, the whole team, and… We will be prepared (for the next game),” said Mike Ott, who felt that the ADT was a tough side to duel against on opening day. After 90 minutes of play, Dapuyat waved cards at him and OJ Porteria, while Kainoa Bailey was cautioned for the opposing team.
“Yeah, I think the other team, they were really physical and I think that if the referee stood a little bit earlier in then… I think… I don’t know how many yellow cards they had, but we got like really easy when we got our own foul and we got our yellow card. Maybe that…. up and everything, but it’s no mistake. But it’s okay.”
His brother’s ejection aside, it was a great afternoon for Mike Ott and the rest of the United City squad.
The country’s professional football league was back and it was they who set the tone for the days to come.
“I think it’s always nice if you score a goal and for the team to help the team. I try that in every game, to help the team. Yeah, it’s also really nice (to score) the first goal for the tournament. It’s really good. Now we get our recovery and we’re looking forward for our next game.”