Loyola Meralco, Global seek crucial wins todayBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LOCKED in a tight race for the crown, Loyola Meralco and Global hope to stay on track for a title showdown when they clash with separate rivals tonight in the United Football League at two different venues.
The Sparks renew their rivalry with Air Force Phoenix in the 7 p.m. duel at the University of Makati, while Global battles Stallion at the same time at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Stallion and Air Force are both out of contention, but they could play spoilers for the two teams which can no longer afford to drop points as the season winds down to a thrilling finish.
With leader Kaya just a point ahead with 36, Loyola and Global could move into the Top 2 with victories tonight.
Kaya has played one more match than Loyola and Global, which face off on Tuesday in a possible winner-take-all match.
“We win our last three games and we’ll be champions, so we cannot afford any slip-ups,” said Loyola midfielder Mark Hartman, who scored twice in the 10-1 rout of Navy Red Juice last Saturday.
It will be easier said than done though for the Sparks, who are looking to erase the stigma of poor results against the Airmen.
Air Force overcame Loyola, 2-0, in the UFL Cup finals, before rallying from two goals down in second-half stoppage time to snatch a 3-3 draw against the Sparks in the first round.
The Airmen are coming off a 3-2 win over Nomads last Sunday in a match where Chieffy Caligdong produced two goals. Air Force could still finish as high as fourth this season by winning its last four matches, but it will also depend on the results of Pasargad and Stallion in their remaining games.
Global hasn’t played in the league since May 16, when it fought to a 1-1 draw against Kaya, which needed a last-minute equalizer to salvage a point.
But some of Global’s aces like Misagh Bahadoran, Angel Guirado and Carli de Murga are in top form having played in all three friendly matches for the national team early this month.
Both teams warmed up with matches against the Guam national team last week with Global battling back from two goals down in the second half for a 5-3 win last Thursday. Stallion scored a convincing 3-1 victory over the Guamanians last Saturday.