United Football League (UFL) Division II Laos FC showed their offensive prowess as they dispatch Nomads FC, 7-1, to start off their UFL Cup campaign, Sunday, May 3 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Laos FC made their intentions known at the sound of the kickoff whistle, immediately going on an offensive charge, which paid off. Within the second minute fo the game, Patrik Franksson was able to move around the defense and power the ball to the top right corner of the net to draw first blood. Their momentum, however, did not stop there. Only two minutes later, Cheick Camara had an attempt for another goal, but his shot was blocked by Nomads goalkeeper, Enrique Ortiz. The resulting rebound touched the feet of Aaron Altiche, only to be quickly collected by the Nomads goalkeeper once again. The UFL Division II leaders, however, continued to press on, keeping their momentum. During the sixth minute, Shayan Jafary converted an assist from the left to double the gap, 2-0. Afterwards, the Nomads finally got a break on the offense in the ensuing play. Benjamin Tolete tried to fire a looping shot in front of Oliver Moreno, who was able to tap it out for a corner kick. Furthermore, the Nomad’s efforts were all denied by the Laos defense, who easily dealt with their attempts. The trailing squad was unable to get their offense going, having their momentum stopped with two offside calls in succession. Moreover, in the 12th minute mark of the match, Tolete failed to finish on another pass that was given to him by teammate, Jorge Goitia.
Nomads kept on penetrating the box, and were eventually rewarded with a free kick, as Alhassan Mohammedu of Laos fouled Lionel William, 15 minutes into the game. Goitia, however, could not convert on the free kick. The following play awarded Williams with another free kick, and this time he was not be denied, when he pierced through the hole in the Laos wall with a direct shot to cut the deficit to one, 1-2, in the 17th minute. The goal served as a wake-up call for the Nomads as they were able to execute their plays better. Soon afterwards, Nomads’ Philip Zemen Isnardi stole the ball from the Laos midfield and managed to connect to his winger. Despite the opportunities given, they were unable to make the most of it. Laos then took advantage of the men in black’s unsuccessful chances and began their counterattack. Laos’ forward Jafary, survived a scuffle in front of the goal, and flicked the ball into the back of the net to restore the two-point cushion for his team yet again, 3-1.
Laos’ aggressiveness did not drop a notch, regardless of the Nomad’s lead. In the 24th minute, the team had another chance, but a Franksson’s header off an Altiche pass was collected by Ortiz. On the other hand, Nomads tried to get one back, two minutes after, yet a shot by William hit the crossbar and was, consequently, cleared by the opposing defense. At the 27th minute, Nomads’ backline denied another attempt by Franksson, but a rebound by Camara helped put his team up, 4-1. It was back-and-forth action from that moment, until Nomads’ Patrick Wilson, from way outside the box, shot at the goal only to be caught by the opponent’s keeper Moreno, at the half-hour mark. Nomads kept on attacking with Tolete making another shot that was, once again, easily retrieved by Moreno. At the 36th minute, Laos defense maintained its stronghold, preventing an attempt from Darren Hartmann, who was fouled at the edge of the box earlier.
The Division II mainstays tried to shoot from yards out, however the attempts of Jafary and Altiche did not pose as a threat. A minute before the first half whistle, Laos striker, Franksson, made Ortiz pay for the goalkeeper’s mistake of surging ahead too early. The halftime score was 5-1 in favor of Laos FC.
At the onset of the second period, Franksson tried another one for Laos, only to be off the side netting. Nomads, being in the back heel throughout the match, started to up the offensive ante in this half. At the 48th minute, William connected with Fabrice Coulibaly, who was off target. In the succeeding play, Hartmann was awarded a free kick that he was unable to convert into a score. Moreno was continuously tested by Coulaliby and William with long bombs, which did not faze the custodian.
With the lead, Laos almost stayed on the defensive for most of the entire half of the game. However, in the 79th minute, Camara took off from the wing and made a wonderful long shot into the onion bag, to break the long silence and further the lead for the former Division I squad. The match went into the doldrums again, with only the final whistle waiting to be blown. Around the 85th minute, a foul was called on Nomads inside the penalty area. Figo Elhabib, who entered in lieu of his brother Bads, delivered the final blow as he calmly sank the bonus for the final score, 7-1. William, who had been the lone bright spot for Nomads, strived to get one back in injury time only to be stopped by the steady Moreno.
Laos FC will try to push their winning run against Forza FC on May 10, while Nomads FC will test their mettle against Division I mainstays and group favorites on Saturday, May 16.
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