UFL: Tough wins reward Loyola, Stallion 1-2 spots
MANILA, Philippines—Loyola Meralco and Stallion grabbed the 1-2 spots in the United Football League following narrow victories Sunday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
National team star James Younghusband knocked in the marginal goal as the 10-man Sparks overcame Green Archers, 1-0, after Stallion barely escaped winless Philippine Army, 2-0.
Stallion struggled to carve out openings and was even fortunate not to fall behind until Emmanuel Mbata shattered the deadlock three minutes from time with a header off Simone Rota’s cross. Jordan Mintah scored an insurance goal in stoppage time as Stallion notched its fifth win in six outings.
Although both Loyola and Stallion are level at 15 points, the Sparks, whose lone loss came two weeks ago to Stallion, are ahead on goal difference.
Green Archers goalkeeper Paolo Pascual again pulled off a string of spectacular saves early on but he couldn’t keep out Younghusband’s firm header off Max Wright’s corner in the 40th minute.
Pascual also denied Phil Younghusband twice in the second half with a reflex stop on a glancing header and a diving save to keep out a left-footed effort on the breakaway.
“We dominated in the first half and we should have been two to three goals up,” said Loyola coach Simon McMenemy, whose team survived after the dismissal of Lee Joo-young to two yellow cards in the 79th minute. “We’re top of the table but the big games will decide the title race.”
Although it was an encouraging display by the Armed Forces side, that did not stop Army from losing for the sixth straight time this season.