Defending champions and third-seeds Loyola Meralco Sparks FC repeated over groupmates Mendiola FC 1991, 5-0, in the Round of 16 of the 2015 United Football League (UFL) Cup to move on to the quarterfinals, Saturday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Red and White had the first chance of the match at the very first minute. Captain Matthew Asong had a run on the left wing, but he lacked the support for the finish. At the 7th minute, they had another chance at the goal, only Jay-R Sandoval’s ball into the box was collected by opposing keeper Tomas Trigo. Trigo also denied Kim Ashley Flores on another run towards his box.
On their part, Loyola was able to settle down on their turn at offense. Nevertheless, Bradley Grayson could not finish on his chances at the sixth and eighth minute. The gray-shirts, however, did not let up on the pressure and finall broke the deadlock at the 23rd minute. Midfielder Jorel Aristorenas connected to Anthony Putrus-Schnell inside the box for the finish.
The breakthrough goal started the onslaught from the reigning titlists as they kept their aggressiveness on the attack. Six minutes after the half-hour mark, Aristorenas again found Putrus-Schnell within the six-yard box, and the latter registered his brace. Three minutes after, Adam Mitter was just denied by the crossbar on his attempt to add to the lead. The visitors had two more opportunities to crack the goal; nonetheless, the defense held up.
Mendiola had a better showing in the second half as they tried to push on their few chances with possession. Flores has several runs on the left flank, but Alvin Sarmiento was there to stifle any chance from the Mendiola winger. On the other hand, Loyola continued their work their way past the defense. Phil Younghusband received several balls from the middle, only he was denied by the home side’s custodian Mike Riconalla.
At the 73rd minute, the visitors finally got rewarded with another goal. After a foul was called on Mendiola, Phil Younghusband sent a lovely ball into the box, which was initially saved by Riconalla, but only as far Bradley Grayson. Grayson wasted no chance to tap the ball into the goal for his team’s third, before he was subbed out for Graham Caygill.
The substitute forward registered a point for himself five minutes after Grayson’s. Grayson found space on the right wing and fired a shot towards Riconalla. The Mendiola keeper retrieved the ball, but spilled it. Grayson punished the error and tapped it past the goal line for his team’s fourth.D espite the lead, the gray-shirts pushed for more goals in the final minutes of the match. Three straight chances from Loyola, however, lacked creativity on the finishing as the final third of Mendiola was able to hold it up. The visitors tried to fire from long, but could not finish.
Nevertheless, Caygill put on the icing on this dominant win of this side at the first minute of added time. The burly forward collected a pass Napoleon Bustillo, and then slotted the ball into the onion bag. The final whistle was sounded with Loyola Meralco Sparks collecting the full points, 5-0.
Loyola Meralco Sparks FC will take on Manila Jeepney FC, which won against Forza FC in the first matchday of the UFL Cup Round of 16.
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