UFL: Stallion holds Loyola Meralco to draw; Archers up
MANILA, Philippines — Defending champion Stallion held its ground in the face of a late Loyola Meralco barrage and salvaged a 1-1 stalemate Thursday night that foiled the Sparks from reclaiming top spot in the United Football League at Emperador Stadium in Taguig City.
Struggling for most of the season, Stallion got a measure of satisfaction with a battling performance led by skipper Ruben Doctora Jr., whose 42nd-minute strike canceled out a 31st-minute goal by Phil Younghusband.
Stallion tightened its grip of fourth spot with 23 points, but the result could prove damaging to the Sparks’ title hopes with Global still ahead by a single point with 34 points.
Hardly giving the Sparks time on the ball, Stallion proved dangerous on the counterattack with Doctora missing a host of chances.
The Sparks finished strong but Matthew Hartmann and Simon Greatwich couldn’t cash in on chances in the last five minutes, allowing Stallion to escape with a point.
“Unfortunately, we seem to miss the energy required in the last 20 meters of the field where the goals are scored,” said Loyola coach Vince Santos.
“For a championship team, especially in long seasons like this, there will always come a point when you’re questioned, how much do you really want it?”
Earlier, Green Archers United extended its winning streak to four matches with a narrow 2-1 victory over Team Socceroo.
Robert Lopez Mendy scored all of the Archers’ goals including the match-winner two minutes from time as the Alabang-based side improved to 19 points for fifth spot.
Diego Barrera struck the equalizer for Socceroo with a clever free kick just before halftime for his fourth goal since joining the club.
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