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Global aim to reach knockout rounds with victory over Pahang

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Reigning UFL Division I champions Global FC will host their final group stage match against Malaysian club Pahang FA in what appears to be a winner-takes-all affair. Currently in third place, the home side will need a win to advance into the knockout stages.

The two teams go into the match in fine domestic form. After routing Yadanarbon, 7-4, in their most recent AFC Cup match, Pahang have also collected two close wins in the Malaysian Super League to solidify their hold of first place. Global, on the other hand, recorded identical 4-1 wins in their first two UFL Cup outings as a response to the disheartening 3-0 loss at Hong Kong against the already qualified South China AA.

Interestingly, their last meeting ended in a goalless draw. On that day, Global were shorthanded, missing a bunch of players including team captain Misagh Bahadoran, but were able to prevent the home side from scoring a goal. A lot of the credit there goes to Jun Badelic who reacted to each Pahang attempt on goal with sharp alertness. Now with more players at their disposal and playing in their backyard, Global will look to gain a favorable result. “This is our home. The game will be really tough. We have to make our country proud. This is do or die,” the now-available Bahadoran stated. Meanwhile, Pahang skipper Mohd Razman Roslan eyes to avoid defeat away from home. “This is the first time we are in a knockout match. We’ll try our best to get a point,” stated Roslan, who missed the first meeting between the two sides due to suspension.

Heading into the match, both sides only have the win on their sights even if a draw at the very least will be enough for Pahang to qualify. This was after Pahang mentor Zainal Abidin Hassan stressed the importance of winning as aiming to do so will keep them from a precarious position.“We’re going for the win although all we need is just a draw to make the last 16. I don’t want to take a risk by playing for a point because it could put us in a dangerous situation,” Zainal expounded via The Star Online. Likewise, Global Coach Dan Padernal sees this match as the opportunity for his team to make history by becoming the first Philippine squad to enter the knockout rounds of a continental club competition. For them to accomplish such, they simply need to win. “This is the best opportunity for us to advance to the KO stages. We’re in good form. We hope to upset Pahang,” Padernal declared.

The battle for the last slot in the East Zone of the AFC Cup knockout stages will be played tonight at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan at 7:00 in the evening.

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