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Stallions blaze past Socceroo, secures berth in UFL Cup Quarterfinals

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The fourth-seeded Stallions team showed exemplary skill to defeat the 13th-seeded, Team Socceroo, 8-0, during the United Football League (UFL) Cup Elimination round, held at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, on Sunday, August 16.

The initial pace of the match started out with a 10-man laden Socceroo steadily taking possession of the ball. Both teams were warming up to each other through a scuffle, veering each other away from their respective goal posts. However, Jordan Mintah quickly began to heat things up for Stallion with his dangerous attempts hitting close to Socceroo’s net.

At the fifth minute, Mintah found a chance to score from a Fitch Arboleda cutback, and tapped the ball right in. The Stallion forward kept his scoring momentum up, often near the opponents’ goal to volley attempts skiving past their net. This put Team Socceroo in a struggle to grab hold of any chance to score. During the 12th minute, Stallion scrambled for the ball around the home team’s net. However, Mintah managed to pry out of Socceroo’s defense, to give Ruben Doctora the go-ahead and tap in the goal, 2-0, in favor of Stallion.

The kickoff shook up Socceroo to take control and push for a goal. They hastened to take possession away from Stallion’s possession. Alu Kigbu turned up the physicality to steal the ball off their opponents. Unfortunately, his efforts ended up giving him a yellow card, at the 23rd minute. Nevertheless, the Stallions remained focused and pressed on with their offense. Minutes after, Doctora passed the ball to Mintah, who readily shot the ball into the onion bag.

Team Socceroo kicked things off once more, and set up a defense to cause another scramble against their opponents. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop Ian Araneta to gracefully lobbed the ball into the top corner of the goal post at the 31st minute. Immediately after the second kickoff, Christian Nana slotted the ball for their third goal, from a Mintah flick pass.

Down but not out, Socceroo moved their way up towards the Stallions goal. Daniel Matsunaga managed to take hold of the ball and found his chance to score; but at the 38th minute, Matthew Nierras swiftly intercepted the shot. A defensive rally ensued until a few minutes before the end of the first half, where Arnel Casil was called back in due to an injury, leaving the home team down to nine men. It wasn’t long until the halftime whistle was blown with the Stallions at 5-0 over Socceroo.

Second halftime began with the Stallions keeping their offensive game strong. The first 10 minutes of the half were mostly close attempts from the men in white, including an offside call from Fitch Arboleda. It was right at the 58th minute where Nate Alquiros passed to Mintah, sending ball into bottom right corner of net, adding one more to the already wide open score.

Frustration crept up on the Socceroo squad, letting out more errors and awarding Stallions with free kicks. While they resulted to attempts, the Stallion squad made up for it at the 75th minute, when Mintah caught sight of the rebound from Mbata and grabbed the chance to make his hat-trick in the match. The Stallion forward remained unstoppable as he, along with Alquiros, collaborated once more to make their final goal at 80th minute. This eventually concluded the match, and their win against Team Socceroo at 8-0.

As of press time and assured of a spot in the Quarterfinals, Stallion FC now await the winner of the on-going battle between Pachanga-Diliman FC and Laos FC. This will decide who they face in the coming week.

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