The second week of the 2016 UFL Cup may not have been as explosive and competitive as the first one but it left plenty of things to talk about in the first competition in Philippine Club football for the year.
The Green Archers came out as the aggressor in the match, coming up with the well-deserved opening goal. Chieffy Caligdong and company pressed the offensive which resulted in the opening goal by Gary Epesso.
Global were flat at the start and didn’t have the energy to match the Archers onslaught. Things changed, however, when the Archers took on injuries that forced substitutions of their key players. Matt Hartmann scored a delightful free kick which highlighted Global’s desperation for an equalizer. It wasn’t until injury time that Arthur Kouassi struck to hand Global the win and prevent an upset.
However, Kouassi’s efforts may be in vain as Global lined-up 6 foreign players during the match, violating the 5-foreign player limit rule that was agreed upon by all teams before the start of the competition. It is an oversight that could very well cost them the game and three points on the board.
JP Voltes FC 2-1 Forza FC
JP Voltes were the favorites in this match after a good performance last week but the tag was tested early on when Lionel Ndoe Mekong scoring the opener for Forza. But it was Masaki Yanagawa who used his head when it mattered most and score two goals in each half to give Voltes the lead. The match was extremely entertaining as both squads got their fair share of chances in goal but the Japanese-Filipino side came out as winners in this tiff.
Pasargad FC 1-7 Loyola Meralco Sparks FC
Loyola arrived with guns blazing, eager to bounce back from their last-minute loss against League champions Ceres-La Salle in the previous week. Alvaro Castiella and Taj Minniecon were on fire early teaming up with midfielders Kou Belgira and Jason De Jong building up spectacular goals in the process.
Down 4-nil, Pasargad managed to get a goal back when a good counter-attacking combination rewarded them a goal thru John De Castro, who finished well on the break. Another three goals in the second half did it for Loyola who secured their first win in the Cup. Interestingly, Loyola only had three substitutes on the bench due to suspensions and the ongoing UAAP Tournament.
Team Captain James Younghusband started as centerback to replace Adam Mitter who got a red card in the previous match against Ceres.
Stallion FC 4-0 Agila-MSA FC
Though the scoreline flatters Stallion, Agila made a gallant stand against the perennial contender. Agila played quite well only allowing a solitary goal in the span of eighty minutes. The MSA team were disciplined defensively, denying the completion of Stallion’s lovely buildup plays. Goalkeeper Bitoy Rosalia and substitute keeper Rolando Cabaniero gave good accounts of themselves as they were on point in manning the sticks. Rosalia even saved a penalty and a follow-up to deny a goal.
Stallion’s persistence was rewarded in the final ten minutes after a flurry of goals from substitutes Bo Bae Park and Jay Soberano increased the lead to three. Jordan Mintah put icing on the cake with an injury time goal.
Nomads FC 0-15 Ceres-La Salle FC
Ceres was on a mission and Nomads was just unlucky to be in their way. The League champions came out with renewed vigor after barely escaping Loyola in injury time the previous week. Scoring aside, the Bacolod-squad’s passing and timing were much better compared to their previous game, allowing them to generate plenty of goal scoring chances all throughout the match.
Kaya FC 6-1 Laos FC
Coach Chris Greatwich used a different starting eleven, just like what he did their opening match against Stallion. This game saw then substitutes Louis Clark, OJ Porteria, Miguel Tanton, Janrick Soriano, and Aly Borromeo starting the match, a move which may be viewed as tactical preparation for their upcoming AFC Cup opener.
Robert Lopez Mendy was all over, scoring the first goal and then retaking the lead just before halftime. Laos played the counter well — Hamed Hajimahdi delivered the perfect cross that was finished well by Aaron Altiche. Kaya found the back of the net twice more but a foul and an offside call nullified the supposed goals for the LBC-backed squad.