There are times when a draw after ninety minutes of football feels like a win. One team could be so heavily favored over the other that anything less than a win for them would prove unsatisfactory. For the upsetter, though, there is a sense of achievement in not losing against much stronger opposition.
Yesterday’s (Aug 7, 2016) early game was one such instance. Stallions Football Club came in as favorites while Laos FC played as underdogs in their first fixture of the 2016 United Football League second round. After ninety minutes, though, it was Laos which ended up as the happier team with the final score being 2-2.
Patrick Franksson (48′ & 76′) scored a brace to enable Laos to escape with a point. As for Stallions, goals from Fitch Arboleda (27′) and substitute Dong Min Bae (56′) weren’t enough to get all three points. The result didn’t change both teams’ places in the league table. Laos were still at 9th place with 7 points while Stallions retained 6th place with 21 points.
Before kickoff, Laos were already at the backfoot as they were only able to start ten players. With a numerical advantage, Stallions pushed forward in search of the goal which would open the Laos floodgates. Nate Alquiros narrowly shot wide and only the crossbar denied Ruben Doctora an opening goal.
Stallions constantly bombarded the Laos goal with the latter’s goalie Felipe Tripulca Jr. alert to deny Alquiros and Joshua Beloya. However, Tripulca was powerless to prevent Arboleda’s 27th minute goal as the latter was at the perfect position to tap the ball into the empty net following the former’s save against Doctora.
Laos were finally breached and Stallions smelled blood. Tripulca, though, was in fine form as his saves thwarted sure goals from Beloya and Arboleda. In addition to Tripulca, Laos had the crossbar to thank once again after it prevented Carlo Polli’s long-shot from getting in. It finished 1-0 in favor of Stallions at halftime.
That scoreline changed just three minutes into the second half. Franksson found himself through on goal and calmly directed the ball past Stallions goalie Andrew Tan to level the scores at the 48th minute. Laos players looked surprise while their Stallion counterparts’ frustration grew worse after the sucker punch.
The game became an open contest for both teams. Stallions then regained the lead when Bae unleashed a shot which got past Tripulca at the 56th minute. Unwilling to go down, Laos once again sought an equalizer, but Tan produced a fine stop to thwart Franksson.
Nevertheless, Franksson scored for the second time in the game at the 76th minute from an Aaron Altiche assist. Laos defended superbly in the final minutes of the game while Stallions were left to lament their wastefulness at goal. Stallions failed to properly test Tripulca in the dying moments of the game and Laos were left to celebrate a 2-2 draw at fulltime.
Laos head coach Jovanie Villagracia said post-game, “Honestly hindi ko na-expect yung result. Pumunta kami dito to play defensive. Draw is like winning for us today. Good start para sa amin sa second round.” Laos’ next game will be against Global FC on Sunday (August 14, 2016; 1:30PM) at Rizal Memorial. In contrast, Stallions play a day earlier at the same venue (4:00PM) versus Loyola Meralco Sparks FC.