JP Voltes FC advanced into the plate final of the UFL Cup courtesy of a second half strike by playing coach Yu Hoshide that earned them a 1-0 win against Green Archers United Thursday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Playing their football in the second division last season, the club also coached by Hoshide will get a chance to end their cup stint on a high when they take on Loyola or Forza in the plate final.
The match began with little intensity as chances came few and far in between. Just four minutes after kickoff, Green Archers United’s Tating Pasilan drove the first shot of the game which was handled securely by JP Voltes goalkeeper Nelson Gasic. His counterpart, Henri Bandeken Fong, did the same two minutes later when Yuto Nakagaita attempted to put his team in front two minutes later.
It then took 13 more minutes for the next chance to happen in a gritty affair between two teams that stubbornly fell in the quarterfinals. Ronnie Aguisanda set up long-time teammate Jhan-Jhan Melliza inside the box. The former FEU Tamaraw sent his shot wisely into the far side, but it lacked the power needed to beat Gasic between the sticks. It looked to have opened up the game, prompting response from John Celiz down the other end. He made a shot that forced an excellent save from Bandeken Fong at the 21st minute.
Yet, the teams couldn’t really build on their respective opportunities. What succeeded the promising situations were half chances that both defenses had no problem in dealing with. Perhaps, the best ones in the half came from JP Voltes’ Takashi Odawara within the last two minutes. At the 43rd minute, he seemed to have broken away from the Green Archers United as he approached the box with only Bandeken Fong between him and the goal. The Japanese player, however, was halted by Reynald Villareal who executed a crucial challenge inside the area. Gifted another chance on the brink of halftime, Odawara failed to hit the ball coming from J Baguioro’s cross. His inability to finish flattered Green Archers United, who may be more relieved with the fact that the half endlessly at 0-0.
After the interval, both teams became more active in pursuing a breakthrough goal. In the first 15 minutes of the second half, neither team really made an attempt to bother both goalkeepers. It certainly changed when Bandeken Fong had to come up big by keeping Green Archers United level through his resolute keeping that prevented the JP Voltes strike force from punishing their foes. Nonetheless, it was a sign of better things to come for JP Voltes who eventually found the back of the net six minutes later.
At the 68th minute, Hoshide got himself to the box where he had time and space to pick a spot past the Archers’ resilient keeper. He did just that by sliding the ball into the far post, claiming a goal JP Voltes would like to think they deserved. The Archers were presented a decent chance to respond almost immediately, but Jimuel Ariola couldn’t hit the target.
Towards the end, JP Voltes created more chances than Green Archers United and they may have went on to stretch the lead. It wasn’t the case though as the final whistle sounded with JP Voltes doing just enough to get themselves in the plate final.
“We could have dominated the game but on the last ball, shooting hasn’t been enough for us,” Hoshide remarked after the encounter. He even suggested that the team played with less vigor than in last Sunday’s quarterfinal loss to Global, but the Japanese player formerly of Global thinks that the result may help the players in the long run. “Hopefully, all the players [will] have confidence against the first division teams,” he added after citing that it is their first time to beat a team that regularly featured in the top tier.
They will get another chance to test themselves against the giants of Philippine club football when they square off against the Loyola Meralco Sparks in the plate final.