Every sports team knows that a reliable defense is the backbone for any potential success. Defense isn’t only about intensity, but also coordination within the players who implement it.
Defense can spell the difference in knockout games and that was clearly exhibited when Global Football Club blanked Singapore club Tampines Rovers Football Club 2-0 in its 2017 AFC Champions League preliminary round clash.
Ahamd Azzawi and Misagh Bahadoran may have gotten the goals, but it was a solid defense composed of goalkeeper Patrick Deyto and defenders Paul Mulders, Amani Aguinaldo, Jerry Barbaso and Serge Kaole which limited the Rovers’ offense.
“Jerry played left-back for the very first time. It was my first time playing with Paul Mulders [at center-back] but we still played well. Serge played right-back. We understood each other.
“There were not much lapses in the game. I think we covered everything and we got rid of loose balls. I think we did pretty well despite our preparation,” explained Aguinaldo.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper added, “To be honest I didn’t really do much today. The defense was really good. We could have avoided some cheap fouls obviously but again I’m really proud of all my teammates, the effort was amazing, they were all brilliant, every single one. We deserved to win obviously.”
Come the 88th minute of the match, though, Global could have conceded a late goal to the Rovers after the latter was awarded a penalty. Up stepped Khairul Amri who directed the ball towards the left, only for Deyto to deflect it to the post which then kept the clean sheet.
“As a keeper you take a gamble on one side and if the ball comes there then you save the ball then it’s good. If you don’t save it, it’s also not bad. The pressure is all on the striker,” shared Deyto, who played for De La Salle University in his collegiate days.
“My job is just easy, just gonna take a gamble. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”
What makes this defensive performance all the more remarkable was that new coach Imai Toshiaki arrived to take up his new post just four days before the fixture. What helped Toshiaki adjust easily was the help of a former Global stalwart.
“Luckily we have Yu Hoshide who coaches and plays with JP Voltes. He was with us since day one of this AFC playoff game and I think it’s only proper that we thank him because he handled the training sessions as well as the coaching staff.
“That’s how the new coach adjusted well because Hoshide was there with the other coaching staff like coach Marjo [Allado],” shared the 21-year-old Aguinaldo.
Up next for Global is a trip away to Brisbane Roar in Australia for the next preliminary round fixture. The game is set to be played on January 31, 5:00 PM. Against such a strong team, Global will have to rely on good defense once again to earn another big result.
“We have to prepare better than we did before this game. I think we will give a pretty good show, a pretty good game. We’ll give them a good game even if we don’t have imports or foreign players as good as them.
“I think with our performance as a team, like we showed a while ago, we can prove something there if we can do better than we did tonight,” opined the 6-foot defender.