San Beda prevails but Teknika claims PFF-Smart crown
() - August 24, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Rizal-Smart San Beda pulled out all stops to beat Teknika FC, 2-0, but fell short of wresting the first PFF-Smart Club championship in front of an animated crowd at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium Monday night.

Back after serving one-game suspensions each, Phil and James Younghusband scored a goal each in the 13th and 72nd minutes, respectively, for the fighting Rizal booters, who, however, missed a lot more scoring chances in trying to overhaul their rivals in the exciting second leg of the home-and-away championship series.

Thanks to its 3-0 triumph in the opening leg last Saturday on the same pitch, Teknika thus clinched the title with a 3-2 goal aggregate following a match where their foes dominated most of the attacks.

 “We expected San Beda to go all out to win, and had it been given a little more time, the outcome of this series may have been different,” said Teknika coach Frank Muescan. “They were worthy finals opponents.”

 “Our game plan was not to concede more than two goals and we were able to do that despite the return of the Younghusbands. We made some defensive adjustments in the second half and it also helped us a lot,” Muescan added.

 “I have to hand it to coach Frank. He really did his homework against us,” said losing coach Aris Caslib. “We had our chances but as you saw we couldn’t convert our opportunities because of the lack of finishing.”

James Younghusband also saluted Teknika by saying “they played a good game and are deserving of the title.”

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta Jr., who watched the game from beginning to end, lauded both squads for putting up a thrilling finale “which had all the elements of a championship match.”

 “Hopefully, both San Beda and Teknika have set a standard that will be the yardstick of succeeding PFF-Smart Club Championships,” added Araneta, who awarded the winners’ trophy together with Smart Sports executive Epok Quimpo.

Both Araneta and Quimpo also awarded the champion team a cash prize of P100,000 and Teknika striker Izzeldin Elhabbib of Sudan the Most Valuable Player trophy.

“The concluded PFF-Smart Club Championshp shows Smart’s successful partnership with the PFF that ended with the best club teams in the land disputing the title in a thrilling series,” Quimpo said. “Teknika was the best club in the (NCR) region, now it is the best in the nation.”

Down 0-3 after the first leg, Phil fuelled San Beda’s bid of turning things around by scoring early in the first, slotting in the icebreaker through two defenders in front of the goal after a long pass from James just inside the squad’s midfield.

 Caslib’s charges had several clear tries in the first 45 minutes, but Paul Concepcion typified their lack of a finishing touch when his shot from pointblank range was saved by Teknika goalie Kenneth Dolloso, who managed to keep a clean sheet despite San Beda’s offensive onslaught.

James’ marker came from a direct free kick from the left wing on the fringe of the penalty area that curled over Teknika’s defensive wall and into the net.

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