In a 2016 United Football League which has seemed like a procession to the top by its strongest teams, upsets have been hard to come by for the minnows. Yesterday (August 7, 2016) was one rare day where the underdog shone at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Against all odds, Green Archers United Football Club defeated title contenders Ceres-La Salle FC by a score of 2-1 to inflict serious damage on the Bacolod-based club’s championship hopes this season.
Hossein Doustdarsefodmazgi (35′) and substitute Tating Pasilan (73′) provided the goals for the Archers as Adrian Gallardo’s penalty (13′) wasn’t enough to set Ceres in the path to another win. While the Archers remain at 7th place with 17 points, Ceres stay at 2nd place with 28 points as league leaders Global are now ahead by 3 points with a game in hand.
After a lively opening in the first half, Ceres drew first blood in the first in clinical fashion. Stephan Schrock was adjudged to have been brought down in the Archers’ box by defender William Ebanda and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty to Ceres. Up stepped Gallardo who made no mistake to put the ball past Archers goalie Henri Bandeken Fong at the 13th minute.
Following the opening goal, Ceres probed looked well on their way to enjoying another routine win. They manned most of the possession with the Archers’ defense just holding firm enough to prevent more goals. Archers themselves had chances mainly from former Azkal winger Chieffy Caligdong, although he failed to hit the target.
Things, though, changed when Reynald Villareal’s pass played Doustdarsefodmazgi through towards the Ceres goal. Ceres goalie Louie Casas rushed out to no avail as Doustdarsefodmazgi calmly directed the ball past him at the 35th minute. Ceres were stunned while relief swept across the Archers’ players faces. It then ended 1-1 at halftime with both teams proving good value for their goals.
Once the second half started, Ceres immediately took the initiative to restore their lead. Schrock unleashed a powerful shot, only for it to be denied by the post. Fong became a busy man afterwards as he produced quality stops to thwart Schrock and Manny Ott.
For the Archers, however, their most dangerous attacking player in the second half was substitute striker Pasilan. In between those Ceres attempts, Pasilan’s header from a corner kick would have went to the back of the net if not for an alert Casas. Pasilan, though, made it one better at the 73rd minute when he unleashed a shot beyond Casas’ reach for the priceless lead.
Ceres’ title hopes were dwindling. Fast. In what was Risto Vidakovic’s first game in charge of Ceres, Archers were ready to help crown Global as champions. Archers endured a nervy ending as Ceres pushed for a goal or two. The Alabang-based squad had Fong to thank as his calm goalkeeping ensured that late attempts on goal by Schrock were halted.
In the end, Archers secured an incredible 2-1 win over Ceres. Archers head coach Dolfo Alicante said after the game, “Talagang masayang-masaya kami. This is the first time na natalo namin yung Ceres. Alam naman natin na malakas na team yung Ceres. First of all, papasalamat kami sa Panginoon, siya ang tumulong sa amin. Yung adjustment ng team namin, malaking tulong. Medyo nag-improve yung organization. Nabigyan namin ng strength kaunti yung sa taas.”
Archers will face JP Voltes next on Wednesday (August 10, 2016; 4:00PM) at Rizal Memorial. On the other hand, Ceres will play JP Voltes as well on Sunday (August 14, 2016; 4:00PM) at the same venue.