UFL: Loyola stuns Global 4-0 in titanic second-day matchup
MANILA, Philippines – After spending a year on the sidelines due to injury, Fred Gonzalez announced his return to the UFL in an emphatic fashion as he led the Loyola Meralco Sparks to a 4-0 shutdown of Global FC, Tuesday night, January 14 at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig City.
Fresh from their 2013 UFL Cup conquest, the Sparks displayed its balanced but lethal offensive prowess when they shockingly blanked fellow powerhouse Global to jumpstart their hunt for a first league silverware.
Facing a revamped Global side – which called on the services of Leigh Manson to replace Brian Reid as the team’s head coach – Loyola needed no time to shake rust off as Lee Joo Young opened up the scoring in the 7th minute, blasting one in from way outside the box.
The Sparks then gave Global’s unwielded backline a tough time throughout the first half as they threatened to open the floodgates early on. It was not until two minutes before the break that Phil Younghusband found the net, however, interplaying with Lee and his brother James Younghusband for a spectacular goal off a direct free kick.
Gonzalez, who replaced Chad Gould for Loyola on top, then pulled out a surprise of his own as he proved that he still has more years in his legs left, heading one in from the corner that put the 2012 League champs in a deep three-goal hole.
The Sparks’ third goal proved to be a painful one as Global regressed on the pitch for the rest of the night, prompting Manson to field in his second stringers.
Matt Hartmann came close to adding another goal with half an hour left in the match when he evaded Global’s defenders, but the former U23 Azkals stalwart hit the crossbar as Ronald Sadia did just enough to change his shot.
Hartmann’s industry was rewarded later on as he punched in Loyola’s fourth goal of the night, scoring one from another free kick, just moments before the final whistle sounded.
The big win has to come with a price for Loyola, though, as James was stretchered out of the playing field after he sustained an injury one minute into stoppage time.
On Thursday, January 16, Team Socceroo will take on Philippine Army in the first game while Pasargad opens its season with a matchup with Green Archers United at the Emperador Stadium. - Rappler.com