MANILA—Ten-man Global FC nipped Kaya FC, 1-0, in a battle of United Football League powerhouse sides Monday at the start of the “I Can Serve Invitational” at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Izo El-Habbib struck in the fifth minute and Global, the reigning UFL Cup champion, defended doggedly to survive the dismissal of goalkeeper Paolo Pascual midway in the first half.
El-Habbib, with plenty of time and space just outside the box, fired into an empty net after Saba Garamoundi was caught off his line.
Pascual was sent off for handling the ball outside the area when he foiled Eric Dagroh’s attempt in the 19th minute. But Kaya couldn’t capitalize on its advantage as it lacked the quality to finish on the attacking third.
Global faces the Philippine Azkals on Wednesday on the second day of the three-team tournament that will benefit the I Can Serve Foundation, a group promoting breast cancer awareness.
The Azkals play Kaya in the final match of the tournament on Saturday.
Kaya missed skipper Aly Borromeo and Anton del Rosario, who was sidelined by a miniscus injury.
But they offered plenty of attacking threat in Dagroh and Nate Burkey, who had a stinging shot headed off the line by Global defender Valentine Kama in the 81st minute.
Kaya midfielder Eddie Mallari also forced a a diving save on Global substitute keeper Raymond Regencia in the 41st minute, before Burkey’s shot from just outside the box sailed over the bar.
El-Habbib and Misagh Bahadoran blew golden chances to add to Global’s tally in the second half.
El-Habbib took too long to shoot after blowing past the Kaya defense, while Bahadoran was denied by Garamoundi from close range in the 67th minute,
“This is a good preparation for us as we defend the UFL Cup,” said Global manager Dan Palami. “We’re not at our best yet, but we are happy to get that result despite playing with 10 men.”