Big UFL starts for Global, Sparks

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Showing they have more than enough firepower even without their top players, defending champion Global and Loyola Meralco got their United Football League campaigns off to a flying start Tuesday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Global bucked a sluggish start to blank Pasargad, 2-0, after the Sparks, playing minus Phil and James Younghusband and starting goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma, came from behind to dump Philippine Army, 4-1, in their league opener.

New acquisitions Niño Ochoterena and Ben Starosta scored in each half for Global, which missed Patrick Reichelt, Jeff Christiaens, Marwin and Marvin Angeles and Matthew Uy due to national team duties.

Ochoterena tucked home a low cross from Misagh Bahadoran at the far post in first half stoppage time.

Starosta, a former Polish Under-19 player, who spent time playing in the lower leagues in England, doubled the lead 15 minutes from time with a glancing header off a beautifully delivered corner kick from skipper Yu Hoshide.

It took awhile for Global to settle into the match with Pasargad, clogging up the midfield and neutralizing the attacking play of the defending champions. A flash of brilliance from Bahadoran finally created the opening as the Fil-Iranian midfielder beat two defenders and crossed low for Ochoterena to finish.

“It was a good performance and I’m happy the new players adapted well,” said Global coach Brian Reid.

The match was marred by the theatrical antics of PSG’s Iranian goalkeeper Reza Ataei, who was booked for a yellow card for an incident with Izzo El-Habbib aside from seemingly exaggerating injuries that led to more stoppages.

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