When the final whistle blows after tonight’s fixture between Air Force Rider and Global Smartmatic, it will decide only one of two outcomes. One is an Air Force win thus defending their title for the second consecutive season, and the other is Global doing a double of Cup and League against their fierce rivals.
Tonight’s match was supposed to be played last Sunday. However after two highly contested matches, the officials have deemed the pitch to be unplayable thus postponing the final.
In entirety though, these two teams did not have much of a rivalry then as Global were in the Second Division last season while Air Force were in the First Division.
Their first meeting was during the final of the LBC UFL Cup in which current Kaya FC (and National Team) skipper Aly Borromeo was playing for Global on loan. The result was a resounding 3-2 win for Global with Izzo El-Habbib and Misagh Bahadoran scoring for Global while Ian Araneta scored twice in an attempt to come back to the game.
Their second meeting was their first meeting in the league which ended in a 1-1 draw. Air Force skipper Yanti Barsales opened the scoring late in the first half, but Izzo El-Habbib drew level at the start of the second half. Global had a chance to win the match with a penalty but Izzo’s shot was well saved by goalkeeper Edmundo Mercado denying Global to have a two win edge against Air Force.
The third meeting will leave as a game Air Force will surely forget as an Izzo El-Habbib hat-trick sealed the deal for Global while Chieffy Caligdong gave Air Force a solitary goal from the penalty spot 3-1.
Before last Wednesday, Air Force have already had one hand in the trophy after trashing Army 6-0, but everything changed when Global responded with an 8-0 drubbing against Navy. With the result, Air Force would only need a draw to claim the title, but a victory for Global be redemption for a team that will end the season unbeaten.
Now this will be the fourth time these two sides will meet. Both sides are expected to field a complete squad as the National Team players have already returned from their training in Cebu. Global though, will be missing the services of William Gueridonn after suffering an injury last Saturday.
This is it, the final. Will Air Force prevail or will Global be able to snatch the title away? It all comes down tonight 6PM at the University of Makati football field.
On a side note, for those who have been visiting the Pinoyfootball Facebook group, a brewing bet has been in talks for some of the members in anticipation for the match tonight. If you’re interested to participate, do comment.