Global crushes Army 7-0, nears UFL title

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – After suffering a heavy defeat in the Singapore Cup, Global rebounded in stellar fashion by smashing Philippine Army-GTI, 7-0, at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill, Taguig City.

The victory put the 2012 UFL champions three points away from reclaiming the title they lost to Stallion Giligan's last season. In the other match of the evening, the Loyola Meralco Sparks survived a furious late surge from Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr, 3-2.

"I've never been beaten 7-0 before. I've had to deal with a number of emotions and personal pride. Not just for the players, but my own. I do think it was an embarrassment the club. We got a hefty defeat, but we're in a position to make it right. We can make it right by delivering the title to the fans of Global. That's what we intend to do," said Global head coach Leigh Manson.

Iranian striker Milad Behgandom opened the scoring in the 12th minute, and the League leaders never looked back. Within the next five minutes Global were up by three, with Behgandom doubling his tally shortly before Angel Guirado got on the score sheet. Izzeldin El Habbib fired in a fourth before the break, adding extra cushion to the lead.

The second half saw substitutes Aaron Altiche, Mark Hartmann and Raul Martinez score late on to reflect the match's one-sided nature. Undermanned Army, with only 12 players available for the match, rarely threatened.

Global can clinch the title on Independence Day against Pachanga.

In the second game of the day, the Sparks almost squandered a three-goal advantage, barely hanging on against an unrelenting Pachanga side. Park Bo Bae tapped in a well-worked team goal for the first period's only conversion.

After the break, Samuel Bonney headed in from a corner, with Phil Younghusband adding a third with only 17 minutes remaining. At that point, the match looked like a foregone conclusion, but Pachanga responded with goals from Shayan Jafari and Nate Burkey.

The first was a beautiful curler from outside the box from Jafari. Soon after, Burkey cut the lead to one with a thunderous free kick. Pachanga looked dangerously close to salvaging a draw, but Loyola managed to hold on.

"Although we didn't get the third goal, I'm happy with the character shown by the players until the end," said Pachanga head coach Noel Marcaida.

"I hid a few players on the bench. In our last two games against Loyola, we would start well, but fade in the end. So this time around I wanted to turn things around and finish with a bang. Unfortunately we weren't able to hold Meralco in the first half. We gave up some gifts," he added.

Inexperienced Ricardo Padilla Jr., who started in place of the suspended Baba Sampana, was at the center of some criticism from Loyola head coach Vince Santos after the match.

"This is the first ever game that we've played with Ricardo. I was telling him this was his opportunity to show if he belonged on the team. Out of his performance today. Well, they were very weak goals to concede. We should have had Joaco [Cañas] in goal earlier to be honest," Marcaida explained.

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