With their undefeated record on the line, Nakagaito scores late to propel JP Voltes FC past Mendiola FC 1991, 2-1, to stay on top of Group C in the ongoing 2015 United Football League (UFL) Cup, May 9, Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
It was the underdogs Mendiola FC who started the game aggressively, highlighted by dangerous feeds to their forwards near the box. Just the second minute, Miguel Caindec attempted a shot during a run of play but JP Voltes goalkeeper Mark Sorongon tipped the ball out with ease. Further incursions into the penalty area were left wanting for the black shirts as they failed to finish. The home side, on the other hand, could not execute their build up because it was disrupted by the opposing defense.
The struggles continued for both sides until another aggressive try from Mendiola at the vicinity of the 33rd minute. As the away team went to the final third, JP Voltes’ Takashi Odawara fouled Connor Tacagni inside the box. In the resulting penalty kick, Ashley Flores was able to slot the ball in pass Sorongon. However, Connor Tacagni interrupted the shot and the penalty was ordered to be retaken. Flores would not be denied the opening goal in the 34th minute on the second try to push his team on top, 1-0. Both teams continued to push the ball with the leading team having more decent attempts. The half ended with Mendiola leading 1-0.
At the start of the second half, JP Voltes tried hard to get their offensive rhythm going. At the 49th minute, Dominic del Rosario fired an attempt that just sailed over the bar. Three minutes after, del Rosario found Takashi Odawara only for it to go wide. Eventually, in the 61st minute, Yugo Kobayashi weaved through the Mediola defense and fired a shot from outside the box and into the back of the net for the equalizing goal. Four minutes past the hour mark, Chihiro Noda tried to grab the lead with a shot from the left for his team, which Mendiola keeper Christian Jayloni gamely catched.
Mendiola FC attempted to regain the lead when they finally got into the attacking third. At the 72nd minute, Tacagni drove into the box and a scuffle on the defense found Flores with the ball but his shot was a little to weak and was calmly snatched-up by Sorongon. Another attempt by Jerome Marzan four minutes after went wide. However, it was JP Voltes FC who succeeded in getting the lead. After a failed attempt on the rebound at the 78th minute, Nakagaito connected a half volley off the defense to grab the goal and the lead for his squad.
Play was temporarily halted for a few minutes due to power outage. When the match resumed, the leading team continued to move the ball into the box for a possible insurance goal, but to no avail. Nakagaito’s shot turned out to be the winning goal as JP Voltes FC took their second straight win of the UFL Cup.
Group leaders JP Voltes FC will stake their undefeated record against Division I mainstays Loyola Meralco Sparks FC on Tuesday, May 19, while Mendiola FC 1991 will try to bounce back from this sorry loss against UST FC on the curtain raiser of that play date.