Loyola, Ceres advance to PFF semis
MANILA, Philippines - As a result of being the top two squads of Group A, Loyola Meralco Sparks FC and Ceres-La Salle FC have qualified to advance to the semis of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship.
Loyola emerged as their group’s number one despite settling for a 2-2 draw against Kaya FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Monday, January 26.
Kaya immediately grabbed the upper hand upon the start of the match after a strike by Miguel Tanton in the 23rd minute to take the 1-0 lead for his club.
However, Loyola came back swiftly with a goal of their own care off Matthew Hartmann on the 25th minute to even the score line at 1 goal apiece.
A few minutes after, another mark was added to the tally of the Sparks as ace striker Phil Younghusband found the back of the net from outside the box, giving his club a 2-1 advantage going into the half.
The boys of Kaya did not falter in spite of being down a goal, which then resulted into a fierce strike by Joven Bedic in the 64th minute that took Loyola’s newly acquired goalkeeper Tomas Trigo by surprise.
Several attacks from both sides marked the dying minutes of the match as the two clubs were looking to notch a win but none went through until the end of regulation.
Meanwhile, defending national champs Ceres FC sneaked their way into the semis after winning 1-0 against Laos FC.
The meeting between the two clubs started slowly as both failed to convert a goal after several attempts on goal during the first half.
On the other hand, the upbeat offense of the Bacolod-based booters proved to be too much for Laos as Patrick Reichelt managed to flick a header into the Saba Sadeghi-manned posts to record the only goal of the match in the 55th minute.
After three days of action in Group A, Loyola copped 2 wins and a draw while group runner’s up Ceres took 2 wins and a loss.
Loyola and Ceres will be waiting for the two teams that will qualify from the other group for the semi final round of the tournament with the former facing Group B’s second placers while the latter will be up against the top seed.
The last remaining games of the national group stage will resume tomorrow for Group B bannered by matches between Global FC and Erco-Bro FC at 4pm followed by Stallion FC versus M’lang FC at 7pm. - Rappler.com