Global, Kaya dispute title; Loyola faltersBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
WITH Loyola Meralco stuttering at the worst possible stretch of the season, the race for the United Football League title has been reduced to a two-team fight between Global and Kaya as the tournament winds down to a thrilling finale.
For all the pedigreed names in their roster, the Sparks picked up only five points from their last two matches, and with Kaya and Global scoring critical victories, Loyola’s hopes of playing for a trophy on Tuesday were effectively extinguished.
The Sparks conceded late goals in the 1-2 loss to Air Force and the 2-2 draw against Nomads in the span of a couple of days doomed their campaign. The best the Sparks’ could finish now is second place—and they will still need to overcome Global to pull it off.
Loyola, which has the league’s top three scorers in Phil and James Younghusband and Mark Hartmann, will be reduced to the role of a spoiler against Global at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
A win by Global will hand the Dan Palami-managed side its first UFL title to add to its UFL Cup victory last year, regardless of the result of the first match pitting Kaya and Stallion.
Aside from a victory against Stallion, Kaya’s hopes of winning the title will still depend on the result of the Global-Loyola match.
A win by the Sparks will hand Kaya its first title but a draw in the Loyola-Global match may not be enough as Global holds a superior goal difference.
“What’s important to us is we will be playing for something in our last match of the season,” said Kaya skipper Aly Borromeo, who scored in the 2-1 victory over Pasargad last Thursday.
Meanwhile, a gritty Navy Red Juice side held Green Archers Globe to a 2-2 draw for only their fifth point of the season last night at the University of Makati field.
Only 10 players showed up for the Sailors, who will be relegated to the second division next season, but they made the most of their chances in the first half to take a 2-0 lead at the break.
Archers rallied with two second-half goals and had several chances that went begging in stoppage time in a lethargic follow-up to their 7-2 drubbing of Army last week.
An own goal by Ronnie Aguisanda in the 23rd minute and a Daniel Gonzales close range strike put Navy in front, before Tating Pasilan headed home in the 60th and Jess Melliza restored parity five minutes from time.
Pasilan sent a header wide and Gabby Oloweyeye fired an effort straight at Tomas Talipan in stoppage time as the Archers couldn’t capitalize on the Sailors’ lack in manpower.
Navy actually finished the match with nine players after Daniel Gonzales was sent off late in the second half.
The Archers rose to 14 points, but stayed in eighth spot with a match remaining in their schedule.
In the second division, newly minted champion Pachanga punctuated its dominance with a 2-1 nipping of Diliman Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.