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Global revitalize campaign with massive home triumph over Yadanarbon

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A change of venue resulted in a change of fortunes for Global FC. The UFL champions erased the bitter memory of losing 6-1 at home to South China, in Manila earlier in the group stage of the 2015 AFC Cup, with a vital 4-1 victory against Burmese club Yadanarbon FC, who went down to nine men following two dismissals in the second half, earlier tonight at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan.

This marked the first professional football game held at the stadium, and the reigning UFL champions gave the stadium a well-deserved baptism by playing well enough to earn a magnificent outcome. Key players Misagh Bahadoran, the skipper of the club, Patrick Deyto, and Ray Jonsson led the returning pack after Global played their last game in Myanmar with a near-empty bench. The boost from the crop of returning players proved valuable as Mark Hartmann, Bahadoran, and Renato Gonzalez all scored with the Filipino-British midfielder-cum-forward drilling two goals from set pieces in the box.

Bahadoran immediately made his presence felt in the second minute of action, after his determination to win the ball led to a free kick within dangerous range. The attempt from the set piece may have been dealt with easily, but Bahadoran came up again with an opportunity to find the opening goal inside the box. After penetrating into the box, the winger’s shot was blocked by a swarm of the Burmese club’s players. He was, then, in the mix in the 13th minute, just moments after teammate, Raul Martinez, shot far wide from outside the box. His attempt, erstwhile was almost sublime. The Azkals midfielder gathered the ball inside the box before shrugging off his marker and finding himself open. He was unable to make it count, however, as his attempt drifted slowly past the wrong side of the post. The returning captain’s impact was really felt in the match as he won a free kick from outside the box that eventually resulted in a spotkick. Martinez fired the dead ball towards the goal, but on the way it was handled by Yan Paing, forcing Sri Lankan referee Nivon Robesh Gamini to award Global a penalty. Hartmann buried his spot kick to make sure Global take a lead for the first time in the tournament.

The advantage did not last long, however, as the next chance of the match took place just four minutes after Global went in front. Unfortunately for the Filipino champions, Yan Paing got to strike well enough to beat Deyto and level the score at 1-1. After drawing the equalizer, Yadanarbon threatened to jump on the lead. Nanda Lin and Thet Naing had decent looks in openplay, but neither tested goalkeeper Deyto. On the other end, Global’s Bahadoran and Hartmann combined again to work their way around the Yadanarbon backline, but to no avail in the 35th minute. The breakthrough may have not arrived that moment, but it came soon after. A costly defensive error by Sithu presented an indirect free kick for Global just a couple of meters away from the six-yard box. Taking advantage of the situation, dead ball specialist, Hartmann, restored the Filipinos’ lead that stood for the rest of the match.

At the restart, Yadanarbon faced Bahadoran anew. Just four minutes into the second half, Sithu had to block the Fil-Iranian’s shot to keep his team within touching distance. Two quick chances, then, took place after eight minutes of fair exchange between the two squads. It was Bahadoran again who almost connected with Hartmann’s excellently whipped cross. On the other side, Yan Paing teed up Maximin Djawa, whose shot from outside of the box was palmed away by Deyto. The fourth goal of the match is clearly crucial as it could bring the visitors level once more, or possibly opening a gap in favor of the home side. Just a couple of minutes after the quick spree of chances, Bahadoran outpaced everyone in blue before slotting the ball clinically past Sithu to make it 3-1 just before the hour mark.

With 21 minutes to go, Zaw Lin Tun was sent off after a horrible foul inside the box. It prompted Hartmann, the recipient of an elbow from ZL Tun, to collect his hat-trick with another go from the spot. However, Sithu managed to get his foot on it to keep the floodgates from opening. The frustration of the visitors was evident when Tin Win Aung was also dismissed with only 14 minutes left, further reducing Yadanarbon to nine men. There were not a lot of chances that came with Global ahead by two goals, and having two more men on the pitch, but Renato Gonzalez sprinkled the icing on the cake with a well-struck free kick sneaking past the Yadanarbon defense. Jonsson came on late in the game and almost scored twice, if not for him mistiming his lunge on the first one, and his sneaky flick cleared off the line. The game ended in a few moments, cueing a joyous celebration from the stands as the more than 2,000 people in attendance were treated to a spectacular display of football from the home side

After tonight’s games, Global find themselves tied for second place with Pahang FA, who lost their game in Hong Kong against the undefeated South China AA, 3-1. This sets up the fight for second place nicely, as three teams behind the Hong Kong team—who also assured top spot in the group— are in the running to join them in the knockout stages.

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