Air Force Rider continued its scintillating form with a 3-0 thrashing
of Kaya Smart Wednesday night to go level on points with Global
Smartmatic on top of the United Football League at the University of
National players Ian Araneta, Yanti Barsales and Chieffy Caligdong
scored a goal each for Air Force, which posted its third straight
victory and fourth overall against a lone draw.
With Army Fritz and Macziol holding Global Smartmatic to a 1-1 draw
earlier, the opportunity opened up for Air Force to tie the league
leaders on top.
It marked the first time this season that Global dropped points, after
scoring four successive victories to open its campaign.
Global and Air Force now have 13 points but Global have a better goal
difference than the reigning league champion.
Kaya is still mired in a slump, collecting just a point in its last
three games, while Army, despite the impressive result against Global,
is still in fourth with its third draw for six points.
Air Force, with assistant coach Edzel Bracamonte filling in for head
coach Edwin Cabalida, wasted little time asserting its dominance over
a Kaya side missing coach Rudy Del Rosario, defensive pillar Anton del
Rosario and skipper Aly Borromeo.
Ian Araneta quickly headed in a flick from Barsales in a well-executed
corner kick seven minutes into the match, just a couple of minutes
after Randy Bela-ong unleashed a thunderous shot that was just kept
out by Chris Camcam.
But Kaya was soon making inroads on attack as Philip Zemen and Alex
Fallah both had glorious chances to equalize.
Zemen found himself unmarked from a tight angle inside the box, but he
could only manage to send his shot to the side netting.
Another chance went begging in the 20th minute when Zemen already had
Air Force keeper Tats Mercado beaten only to see his lob cleared off
the line by Joebel Bermejo.
Fallah couldn’t keep a follow up on Zemen’s shot on target as Kaya
kept up the pressure. Yannick Tuason also forced a diving save on
Mercado minutes later.
As Kaya grew weary, Air Force pounced. Barsales latched unto a long
ball from Harold Bayona, before unleashing a clever strike from just
inside the box to beat Camcam in the 84th minute.
It was Barsales’ third goal in two matches, while Araneta scored his
second goal in three matches.
Caligdong, who had already wasted two chances on one-on-one
opportunities against Camcam, made amends, winning the ball during a
scrum, before smashing a sweetly-struck volley to the bottom corner
and put the outcome beyond doubt two minutes from time.
Global actually got off to a perfect start with Izo El-Habbib giving
them the lead in the 5th minute with a volley from just inside the
But Army, a team with a proud tradition, was rewarded for its dogged
defending in the 53rd minute.
Meliton Pelayo was quickest to react during a goalmouth scramble and
he put the ball past Kenneth Dolloso for the equalizer.
Army was reduced to 10 men when Ed Gempisaw was sent off for a second
yellow card in the 63rd minute. But the Armymen hung tough with their
resolute defending to snap Global’s winning streak.