2016 United Football League Cup champions Global FC notched their ninth straight win in as many matches as they toppled Green Archers United FC, while Stallion FC and Forza FC defeated Agila MSA FC and Pasargad FC, Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The League leaders approached the tussle against GAU with caution, but with the obvious intent of breaking the deadlock as soon as possible. It did not take long for the go-ahead goal to happen.
In the eighth minute, Ivan Petrovic sent a lovely ball into the box, which Dennis Villanueva nodded towards goal. GAU goalkeeper Henri Bendeken Fong, however, was there to stop the shot and sent it out for a corner. In the ensuing corner kick, the Serbian once again whipped a cross and Amani Aguinaldo’s header this time would not be denied.
Green Archers United were not yet relieved of Global’s pressure. After getting a foul from the visitors, Global FC’s Team Captain Misagh Bahadoran stood at the top of the box and blasted a well-placed free kick into the back of the net to double the lead.
The black-shirts had chances but they were few in between Global’s relentless attack. In the 37th minute, Tating Pasilan found Greggy Yang rushing towards former teammate, and now Global’s custodian, Patrick Deyto. Deyto gathered the ball out of Yang’s reach to keep the score line the same at the break.
Global kept up their offensive rhythm at the second period. Despite the missed chances, the yellow-shirts confidently continued their ball distribution and finally unlocked the door once more in the 59th minute. Another foul from GAU conceded another free kick to the yellow-shirts. Bahadoran once again attempted a shot straight from the set piece and hit the target, but, just to be sure, substitute Louis Kaole tapped it into the net for the team’s goal third of the match.
The game’s intensity turned up a notch when GAU attempted to pull one back. With the entry of former Azkals’ captain Chieffy Caligdong, the Archers’ offense found some newfound life. After an offside infraction was called on the forward, he won a handball call on Deyto in the following sequence. It drew the ire of the Global goalkeeper, who said some words towards assistant referee Giovanni Lachica.
Nonetheless, Caligdong took the free kick and shot straight to the top and off the hands off Deyto. The national team-capped guardian shouted at Lachica, who in turn asked Referee Steve Suprecencia’s opinion on a sanction to this offense. Eventually, Suprecencia sent Deyto off, which left Global down to 10 men.
This did not dampen Global’s spirits, and despite going a man down, continued to dictate the pace. GAU took advantage of the situation, but they could not convert on their chances.
Substitute Juan Carlos Ortiz ended the frustrating wait for either side, sealing the win with a goal with three minutes left in the match.
Head Coach Leigh Manson shared his delight of beating GAU this time. He said, “Green Archers always make it difficult for us. It is important that we got the three points now. For me, this is the most important game.” Manson emphasized that the win gave them a breathing room before they meet Ceres-La Salle at the final day of the first round.
Earlier in the day, Stallion FC rejuvenated their campaign with a rout of Agila MSA FC, 5-1.
Nathan Alquiros used his familiarity with some Agila players and scored a brace in the 34th and 40th minutes. Team Captain Ruber Doctora Jr. also scored twice for Stallion. The skipper opened the scoring in the 11th minute and then finished off an Alquiros pass in the 38th minute. Defender Simone Rota took the other goal as he converted from the spot in 75th minute.
Agila’s Jang Dong Hee prevented a shutout as he whipped a free kick past Ref Cuaresma for his team’s lone goal of the match.
In the second match, Forza FC took their second straight win after edging out Pasargad FC, 2-0.
Despite dominating the possession and the chances, it took a while for the home side to clinch the first goal of the afternoon. Finally, in the 24th minute, Hayato Aoki outwitted his marker and sent the ball for a Park Hyul finish.
With the match nearing its end, a mad scramble in the box happened in the 87th minute, which resulted in another goal for Forza. The goal was later on credited to Aoki.
Here is the remaining schedule of the first round of the 2016 United Football League:
Crucial matches tomorrow as JP Voltes FC will try to continue its Cinderella run against another fellow in-form team Loyola Meralco Sparks FC at1:45pm.The much-anticipated battle between the 2016 AFC Cup quarterfinalists – Kaya FC and Ceres-La Salle FC – follows at 4pm. Laos FC and Manila Nomads FC will take the pitch first at the 7:30am appetizer.
July 12: 4pm – Forza FC vs Stallion FC
July 14: 1:45pm – Manila Nomads SC vs Global FC; 4pm – Ceres-La Salle FC vs Green Archers United FC
July 16: 7:30am – Pasargad FC vs Manila Nomads SC; 1:45pm – Laos FC vs JP Voltes FC; 4pm – Stallion FC vs Green Archers United FC
July 17: 7:30am – Forza FC vs Agila MSA FC; 1:45pm –Loyola Meralco Sparks FC vs Kaya FC; 4pm – Ceres-La Salle FC vs Global FC
TBD: Agila MSA FC vs Kaya FC