Avenging their 6-nil defeat last February 24 in the first round, the rejuvenated Loyola Meralco Sparks FC forced UFL table toppers Global Smartmatic FC into a 1-all draw in their second round face-off held last April 17 at the University of Makati Football Stadium.
Yoshioka Taku was awarded a free kick in the third minute of the first half. He aimed the ball between the goalkeeper and lower defender. Global goalkeeper Kenneth Delloso was already formed to block it from the left side, when the ball landed on the right side and was too late to be stopped.
Not to be defeated, Global’s Misagh Bahadoran equalized the match in the first two minutes of the second half with a chip shot that was defelected eventually going in to the back of the net much to the surprise of players and fans alike.
Taku said that it was fortunate that he was able to make a goal in his probably the last game of the season, as he will travel back to Japan to play. Futhermore, he said that the audience could expect more from Loyola with the inclusion of the Hartmann brothers in their squad.
Meanwhile, Global FC Manager Dan Palami said that they expect teams to become stronger as the second round commences, and find it in Global’s advantage that finished the first round with narrow lead over runner-up Air Force Rider. However, the Rider were just waiting to play and win, he said. As of the writing of the article, Air Force Riders needed a win against Green Archers Orient Freight to grab the top seed.
Palami also said that the team is adjusting to new formation, notably with Bahadoran who was not included in the First XI. Though not an excuse, Palami believed that the extreme heat condition in the field also played a factor in their game. Temperature today reached at 35 degrees Celcius with very humid condition.