Green Archers, Pasargad to Smart Club semis
Chieffy Caligdong scored off a virtuoso move late in the second extra period to lift his new club Green Archers United to a 1-nil win over hard luck Pachanga in the quarterfinals of the PFF Smart National Club Championships at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
In the 114th minute, Caligdong blew past left back Nathan Octavio down the right goal line. The former Air Force midfielder, in only his second game with his new club, fired at the goal but Pachanga keeper Kim Versales blocked it. The ball rebounded out to Caligdong and with defender Andrew Santiago closing him down, he fired a difficult right footed shot towards the first post for the deflating goal.
The two sides also met in the quarterfinals of the recently concluded UFL Cup where they took a 1-1 score not just into the two extra 15-minute periods but to a penalty shootout. Green Archers United prevailed 4-3 in penalties.
In this competition, both sides played a more defensive match and only attacking on the counter offensive. Caligdong had two chances to score in the second extra period, including one where he blew past two defenders on for Pachanga central back Yves Ashime to poke the ball away. Arnie Pasinabo also had an opportunity to score but Ashime blocked the shot.
In the second match of the Sunday double header, Pasargad's Fil-Belgian defender Angelo Marasigan collected a blocked free kick by a teammate to score on a stunning 40-yard volley in the 108th minute that blew past General Trias International goalkeeper Seo Sung Seok for a 1-0 win to send the former UFL champions to the semifinals.
It was a painful loss for the Korean-flavored Cavite-based football club that played the better football than the victors. They were also ousted in the 2012 UFL Cup quarterfinals by eventual champions Stallion in a 5-4 penalty shootout.
All match long, Marasigan and fellow Filipino defenders Mark Anthony Fernandez and Francis Sumudivilla were dispossessed or beaten by the quicker General Trias attackers but they all kept their wits about them.
"They (General Trias) are in superb condition and are a very good football team," said Marasigan after the match. "But we all talked about tracking back and not giving up on a play. The goal is a sweet and memorable moment for me personally but also for our club."
The semifinals of the PFF Smart National Club Championships will be played this Saturday, January 26, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Ceres, the lone provincial squad still in the competition, will play Kaya at 4 p.m. while Pasargad take on Green Archers United in the main game at 6:30 p.m.