Road to the UFL Cup finals: Global vs. Stallion
MANILA, Philippines - And then there were two.
From the original 20 teams in the group stages, there are now only two teams left vying for the UFL Cup title after both Global FC and Stallion FC defeated their rivals in the semi-final round Tuesday evening, November 13, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Short-handed Global defeats Loyola Meralco
Although a squad laden with national team talent, Global FC decided to field only Matthew Uy and Marvin Angeles in the lineup as the other Azkals players stayed in Cebu in preparation for their friendly against Singapore on Thursday, November 15.
This was in stark contrast with their rivals Loyola Meralco Sparks who had brothers Phil and James Younghusband and Andres Gonzales fly back from Cebu for the match.
Despite the imbalance, ten-man Global defeated Loyola Meralco 2-1, allowing the league champions the chance to grab a rare league and cup double after winning the league last season with a 1-1 draw also against Loyola.
Global’s frontline tandem of Alex Obiang and Izzo El Habib were on the mark for the league champions.
Obiang opened the scoring early in the 6th minute, while other chances came begging throughout the match. El Habib doubled the lead in the 83rd minute, all but confirming Global’s finals ticket.
Loyola Meralco pulled one back in the 86th minute from James Younghusband, setting up a tense last few minutes as the Sparks pressed on for the equalizer to force extra time.
However, their efforts were in vain, as Global notched the win and entered the finals at the expense of their fierce rivals.
Super sub sparks Stallion fight back over Green Archers in extra time
With penalties looming, Stallion FC relied on late substitute OJ Clarino to inspire them late in the match, giving them the 3-1 victory over Green Archers United for the second finals final slot.
The Archers grabbed the lead in the 55th minute from captain Floriano Pasilan Jr., however Stallion answered back in the 71st minute from captain Ruben Doctora Jr. forcing extra time.
The match became heated in the second half as Archers’ Lawrence Ikegwuruka and Stallion's Nam Yeul Woo were both sent off, making the match 10v10 heading into extra time.
Coming off as a substitute, Clarino showed his prowess as he ran from the left side, evading the Archers defense inside the penalty area, finding Lee Won Hyung open for the go-ahead goal in the 112th minute.
Stallions added a third clincher with only a minute remaining in extra time, when Doctora scored off a counter attack courtesy of substitute Jovanie Simpron.
The finals are set for Monday, November 19, at 7pm. - Rappler.com