Mark Hartmann scored a first half hattrick while Misagh Bahadoran and Izo Elhabbib added a goal each to round up a 5-1 win for Global FC over Laos FC in the UFL Cup 2015 played Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. The defending UFL Division I champions capped off their group stage run by taking maximum points in all of their four games, enough to see them through the quarterfinals as Group D winners.
The younger of the Hartmann brothers opened the scoring at the 12th minute mark by smashing the ball past Laos goalie Oliver Moreno’s net. There were more chances for Global right after they grabbed the lead with the best chance coming from the goalscorer whose free kick was tipped over by Moreno at the 17th minute. As the score remained at 1-0, Laos tried to charge their way towards an equalizer. Unfortunately, Ryan Buenaflor’s free kick went off the mark , and Aaron Altiche’s shot was contained by Global’s shotstopper Roland Sadia prior to the mandatory water break at the 25th minute.
As play resumed, Global regained the attacking rhythm. A few moments after the half hour mark, Bahadoran had two good chances but were unable to finish them off. With nine minutes left in the opening half, Global went two goals ahead courtesy of Mark Hartmann who found a way to place the ball into the goal in a quick attacking sequence. Three minutes later, the forward had a chance to complete his hattrick as a penalty was awarded to Global. Alhassan Mohammedu’s challenge on Norio Suzuki was wrongly-timed, which led to Mark scoring his third by beating Moreno from the spot. Halftime soon came with Global scoring three unanswered goals.
After the restart, Laos went forward more often but they were unable to do much inside the attacking third. As for Global, it did not take them too much time to score their fourth. Ten minutes into the closing half, Bahadoran sneakily found the back of the net from a tight angle to catch Moreno and the Laos defense unaware. It was back and forth affair after Global padded their lead and with Laos getting better in building up plays deep inside Global’s half, they were rewarded with a spotkick at the 65th minute. Substitute Marco Casambre was called for handball inside the box, resulting in Shayan Jafary goal from the 12-yard spot a minute later.
Entering the final quarter of the match, Global looked for their fifth goal of the match to restore their advantage held earlier while Laos tried to make a game out of it. Bahadoran, like in the first half, was denied twice by the pesky Laos defense. On the other side, Laos just had a tough time breaking down Global’s disciplined backline. Among all the chances that came, it was Izo Elhabbib’s goal with seven minutes to go that bore fruit.
Global coach Leigh Manson expressed satisfaction in his team’s most recent triumph. “We’ve never had a comfortable game against Laos. Perhaps this game is our most comfortable,” the Scot said. He also admitted that the sudden change in schedule shook them a bit, but added that his team has been deep and professional enough to deal with the situation.
Global are certain to finish top of Group D with 12 points while Laos stay in second place but are level on points with Manila Jeepney and Forza at the moment. Manila Jeepney are battling Nomads while Forza are on bye this weekend, setting up an exciting race for the last available quarterfinal slot in Group D. Laos will have to beat Manila Jeepney on Tuesday at 8:15 PM to preserve their campaign in the UFL Cup 2015. Before that will be Forza’s match against lowly Nomads.
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