Division I side Manila Jeepney FC stepped near a slot in the knockout stage of the 2015 United Football League (UFL) Cup as they pummelled Nomads FC, 7-0, Saturday, May 23 at Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The top flight team went on the attack early and at the third minute a shot from Arthur Kouassi went wide. The formidable striker had two more chances inside the first 10 minutes. The latter of these opportunities was converted into the goal when he broke free from the defense on the left flank and slotted the ball into the back of the net. The blue-and-red pushed for more goals, but they were having problems on their build up. In the 21st minute, Nomads’ Carl Amisola had a shot on goal, which was blocked by the opposing goalkeeper RJ Joyel; which then followed with a corner kick that was unsuccessful.
In the half-hour mark, Nomads was called on a handball inside the box conceding a penalty to Manila Jeepney. Kouassi calmly sank the spot kick pass the white-and-green’s keeper Joshua Cruz to pad the lead, 2-0. The Division I mainstays played better and the defense had no choice but to foul and deny the chances. A few seconds before the halftime whistle, Manila Jeepney’s Eric Giganto breached the offside trap and fired a shot into the onion bag for his team’s third. The first half ended with the higher seeds with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
It was pretty much the same in the second half as Manila Jeepney FC continued to roll on offense, whereas Nomads only had a few opportunities on their attacking third. The leading side was able to execute better on the build up and found creativity on finishing. Kouassi, Van Rey Diaz, and Alvaro Alonso had chances to score, nonetheless, the defense of the former Division II squad held. On their part, Nomads had a chance to take one back off Manuel Yuhico from yards out in the 59th minute, which was easily retrieved by Joyel. Ten minutes after, Jamal Dalir Lord connected to Alonso inside the box and the latter tucked the ball into the goal as their side now leads, 4-0.
It was total domination onwards as Manila Jeepney controlled the possession and attack despite the lead, thwarting any attempt by Nomads to comeback. UAAP standout Arnel Amita found the back of the net for his team’s fifth at the 74th minute when he drove in and shot from inside the box. As if the score line was not enough, Lord fired two more goals in two minutes to push the Division I team a step closer into the next phase of the Cup. The match ended 7-0 in favor of the Manila Jeepney.
Amita shared that they made adjustments for the second half with regards to their build up. “Tungkol po dun sa [build up], huwag lang pilitan yung bola kung masikip po; dapat execute lang ng maayos, tapos balasahin ng maigi para makascore kami ng simple lang,” he explained. The win gives Manila Jeepney a good chance to make it to the quarterfinals and the team is aware of it. However, the winger stressed that they need to win their next game. “Kailangan naming maipanalo, mapakita yung galing namin sa team sa next game.” On his part, Amita believes that his training with the U23 men’s national team helped his game in the UFL. He said, “Opo, kasi nung nasa Australia kami, mas matangkad yung kalaban namin kesa dito, so mas nakakagalaw ako ng maayos. Tapos nakakapag-execute ng maayos.”
Manila Jeepney will battle Laos FC on the last day of group stage action, Tuesday, May 26, while Nomads will close their UFL Cup campaign against Forza FC on the same day.
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