Things have settled in Match week 4 of the 2016 UFL Cup and the results provided plenty of talking points in the Philippines’ first club tournament this year.
Ceres-La Salle FC 3 – 2 Green Archers United FC
After coming off a tough 2-2 draw against Selangor, Coach Ali Go opted to rotate his players against the Archers featuring a different starting eleven. The Archers meanwhile where parading stand-in coach in Hans-Peter Smit. The DLSU mentor stood in for Coach Rodolfo Alicante and Team Manager Monchu Garcia who were both unavailable. Ceres as expected were controlling possession and shots but the Archers were in keen on getting a result to improve their standings for the quarterfinals. The result however was not in their favor as Chieffy Caligdong’s deficit-cutting goal was not enough. The Archers will be facing top seed Kaya in the quarterfinals while Ceres will take on surprise quarterfinalists Forza in a month’s time.
JP Voltes FC 0 – 4 Kaya FC
After succumbing to a soft penalty in Hong Kong, the reigning champions turned their ire to the upstarts in JP Voltes. Coach Chris Greatwich stuck to his AFC Cup eleven, a full change to his experiments in the previous games. Kaya came out swinging and the Japanes-Filipino team just couldn’t keep up. JP Voltes missed their starting centerbacks in Camelo Tacusalme and Masaki Yanagawa to various reasons and it showed in the game. Voltes leaked four goals far from their 1-2 performance against the group leading Stallion.
Loyola FC 0 – 2 Global FC
It seems like the new look Global squad is already settling in and it showed against Loyola. Newcomers in Kofi Kouassi, Milan Nikolic, Serge Kaole, and Omid Nazari are fitting in well with the mainstays en route to the win. The Sparks however are just trying to get their gears back after a wave of injuries have hit the team at the start of the cup. The orange men are awaiting the return of Simon Greatwich and Phil Younghusband who are expected to suit up in their final group match. Global played with urgency against Loyola, unlike their first three games where they seemed to be uninterested at most times. The return of talismanic defender Daisuke Sato may have had a positive effect to the squad. The Azkals player is one of the leaders in the squad and his presence may have rubbed off the right way.
Forza FC 1 – 9 Stallion FC
Stallion Coach Ernie Nierras shuffled his squad allowing players like GK Andrew Tan and Bo Bae Park to start the match. Forza meanwhile still had most of their bench playing in the UAAP and stuck with the same first eleven. The Alabang squad were unlucky to lose their starting keeper after a red card which meant that Stallion were gonna run away as winners. The Gilligans-backed squad is expected to top group A arranging a quarterfinal showdown with Green Archers.
Nomads FC 0 -4 Pasargad FC
In a battle of the bottom teams in a stacked Group B, Pasargad finally earned a deserving win in this years UFL Cup. Scoring against Loyola was a mean feat and Pasargad finally had the chance to strut their stuff. Mohammed Camara may have scored the goals but their most exciting player in Jangobah “Magic” Johnson is someone to watch out for if they join the league. Nomads passed on their final chance for a win in this tournament, a tournament that they should forget. Playing against the big boys is tough and having a developmental team in tow may cause more harm than good to the young players.
Agila MSA FC 1 – 1 Laos FC
The result meant that both teams are eliminated from the quarterfinals. Agila was particularly impressive in this UFL Cup as they have shown discipline against the tougher teams in most parts of the games. Laos was a disappointment in this tournament, highlighted by their defaulted match against Forza. Gone was the magic in winning Division 2 last year and the transfer window this April will be their only chance to make amends.