The eighth-seeded Pachanga-Diliman FC (PDFC) was en route to a surprise victory, but Global FC’s Jason De Jong found the back of the net in added time to force a stalemate, 1-1, Monday evening, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
At the start of the match, both teams pushed to get the early goal. Global had the first chance but the Hartmann brothers, Mark and Matthew could not connect on two consecutive shots at goal. At the sixth minute, Pachanga goalie Steve Yambou easily collected Daisuke Sato’s ball from inside the box. Yambou’s squad ended the deadlock and tallied the first goal of the match from a free kick. PDFC Captain Hamed Hajimehdi sent a ball into the six-yard box that caused a scuffle for the ball that Jinggoy Valmayor tapped past Global FC custodian Patrick Deyto and into the net.
The following minutes saw both teams attack whenever they have possession of the ball. Global pressured the away team’s defense as they continued their aggression in order to get one back. Mark Hartmann and OJ Clariño, however, could not finish on the balls that were sent into their attacking third. On the other hand, Pachanga only had few good looks on target as they were able to build up with good passing between their midfielders and forwards. Nonetheless, neither team could add to the scoreline as the halftime whistle sounded with PDFC leading with a solitary point.
Global coach Leigh Manson fielded in Azkals Amani Aguinaldo and Misagh Bahadoran, and offensive midfielder Hikaru Minegeshi, in hopes of turning things around. Pachanga also made adjustments as they shifted to a more defensive 5-4-1 formation, knowing Global would aggressively try for an equalizer. The second-seeded team had chances as they kept on breaching the Pachanga backline. Sato had two more chances for the yellow-shirts in the 69th and 75th minute, only for Yambou to snuff both attempts. Ten minutes before the final whistle, skipper Bahadoran fired another opportunity, but it did not even graze the crossbar.
Having only a few minutes left, Pachanga held their fort against Global as they stifled a barrage of attacks from the home side. Doustdarsefidmazgi had another run to double the lead for his team, only for the ball to be gathered by Deyto before it breached the goal line. The yellow-shirts was given ample time to steal points off their opposition and they finally equalized at the second minute of injury time. Sato’s cross connected with a cutting De Jong inside penalty box, who fired the ball to level the score as the final whistle was blown. The match ended 1 goal apiece for both sides.
Global’s tactician Manson commended their adversaries on staying against and competing with his wards in this match. He shared, “I feel Pachanga deserves a result from this game.” The Irishman was not bothered that the draw hurt their chance of placing second to Ceres-La Salle. What concerns him the most is that if his players are good enough to play for the team. Manson expressed, “We got two cups – the Singapore Cup and the UFL Cup to answer that question. That’s the question that I will be laying down to them.”