In their seventeenth game of the season, Global registered win number 14 against Stallion to draw that much closer into taking home the 2016 United Football League (UFL) title. The 2014 champions’ mission of redeeming themselves following a mediocre campaign last season is literally just a point away after the Sunday evening’s 3-0 win at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
As both teams made slow starts, the first real chance to open the scoring came for Stallion in the 26th minute. Ruben Doctora pulled back a pass to find Fitch Arboleda, whose shot was read well from close range by Global goalkeeper Patrick Deyto. It seemed to have awakened Global’s senses, as their next move turned out to be more productive.
Creating multiple half-chances in the first 25 minutes of the game, Global finally got one past Stallion when Omid Nazari’s blocked shot kindly fell in front of Arthur Kouassi. The striker then clinically sent his attempt to the top corner to make it 1-0 in the 27th minute. It nearly became 2-0 for Global, and from Kouassi once more, had he connected better off Nazari’s corner delivery two minutes after he scored.
Global looked to capitalize on Kouassi’s presence in the box and their eagerness to do so was rewarded by a second goal from the man himself. This time around, in the 44th minute, Kouassi showed his ability to control the ball from a Serge Kaole throw in and power his way past a swarm of Stallion defenders to fire his second goal near the byline. It gave Global a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Kouassi almost rounded up his game with a hat trick but Ref Cuaresma had other ideas. His day on the pitch soon ended as he had to make way for OJ Clarino. The former University of Santo Tomas standout amply filled the role left by his teammate, as he and Matthew Hartmann tried to break down the Stallion defense. Their partnership seemed to be clicking, and only a heavier touch from Clarino on one of Hartmann’s crosses from the left flank would have added to their lead.
Approaching full time, Deyto produced another wonderful stop to prevent Stallion from finding a way back to the game. The Azkals goalkeeper timed his jump to perfection when he palmed away Carlo Polli’s free kick in the 79th minute.
Stallion were left wondering what could have been at that point, perhaps aware that another goal may have been coming in the match. One goal did come late in the game, and from a set piece no less, but instead it was for Global. Nazari looped his free kick over everyone else before it fell conveniently right into the corner of the onion bag to seal a 3-0 win.
Before Global’s win, Forza held Green Archers United to a 1-1 draw through a late equalizer from Park Kyul. The Korean finished off a fine move started by Alfonso Montelibano. The midfielder made his way into the box from the left wing to set up Park who tapped the low cross in. The Archers were ahead since the 38th minute of the cagey affair through Alvin Sarmiento’s goal.