With Ceres-La Salle FC taking the title, Global FC solidified its claim to second spot after pulling off a 2-0 win over Green Archers United (GAU) FC, Saturday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
On a rainy night and a slippery pitch, the two teams tried to weather the elements in search for the opening goal. Green Archers United had the first few chances to break the deadlock, however, Forwards Robert Lopez Mendy and Jhan jhan Melliza were called for offside. In the succeeding play, Global wrestled the momentum from the white-shirts. A foul was called on Archer Reynald Villareal at the edge of the box. Furthermore, Izzo Elhabib took the succeeding free kick, which was blocked by opposing Keeper, Paolo Pascual. The pressure was not over from Global, as they were able to recycle the offense. Pascual needed to make another stop in the follow up from Misagh Bahadoran to keep the match scoreless.
It was a see-saw battle from there as neither team dominated nor controlled the match. Sensing momentum, however, Global FC turned their offensive play up a notch. Minutes before the halftime whistle, the second-seeded team had several chances, only to be thwarted by the defense of the Green Archers. The home team also had their opportunities at the tail end of the first half, but to no avail. The first half ended scoreless for both teams.
Picking up from where they left off in the first half, Global had their first chance at goal for the second at the 47th minute. Villareal was again whistled for a foul and, consequently, conceded a free kick. There was a scramble near the goal after that free kick, nonetheless, no conversion was made. Nine minutes after that sequence, GAU defender Tommy Escoltero anticipated a boot from Jason de Jong and cleared the ball out of danger. On the other hand, the home team had their own attempts. Midfielder Manuel Chaffort and Melliza tried to fire from long range, but their shots either went out, or straight into the hands of Roland Sadia.
Finally, the barrage of chances for Global FC paid off three minutes after the hour-mark. Hikaru Minegeshi intercepted a ball off an error from the opponent and capitalized on the opportunity to score. He launched a shot from afar and the ball went into the back of the net for a well-deserved opening goal. Despite the lead, the visitors kept on pushing for more goals in the following minutes. At the 68th minute, OJ Clarino had the chance to double the lead. Clarino tried to connect off a header, but the ball sailed over the bar and into the top of the net. Minegeshi found himself unmarked on the run in the following play and could have scored a brace, if not for the offside call given by the linesman. The Japanese midfielder was then relieved off his post in favor of UAAP and U23 stalwart Paolo Bugas at the 72nd minute.
The Green Archers tried to equalize as they were able to send balls into their final third. However, their attempts at the 77th minute and 83rd minute were successfully dealt with by the Global defense. The first try from Melliza from the edge of the box was timely collected by Sadia. Six minutes from that play, Lopez Mendy found himself some space to shoot, but Global and Azkals defender Amani Aguinaldo chased him down before Sadia made another save.
With teams jockeying for the second place in the league’s top division and a possible 2016 AFC Cup playoff spot, Global tried to squeeze in more goals at the final minutes to propel them to the position. The Green Archers, however, stood their ground at the 86th minute after surviving several crosses from Global into their own penalty area. De Jong had two consecutive attempts at the dying minutes that were fended off by Pascual. With their multiple attempts, however, the blue-shirts would not be denied of another goal before the final whistle. At the stoppage time, Paolo Bugas had a run to the goal, with support from U23 teammate Paolo Salenga. Salenga collected a pass from a build up play. The former NU Bulldog delivered the ball right inside the box to the substitute Bugas, who tapped the ball for Global’s second. Global FC walked away with the win and the full points as the final whistle was sounded, 2-0.
Global FC will attempt to secure their silver finish in the upcoming matches starting with their next one against Loyola FC on Wednesday, July 29. Green Archers United will try to get back on winning form when they face the same team on August 1.