Pachanga, Green Archers eye UFL top ranking
MANILA, Philippines—Newcomer Pachanga and first division side Green Archers United hope to nail the top ranking in their respective brackets as they clash with different foes Saturday as the group stage of the United Football League Cup heads to the homestretch at the University of Makati pitch.
Still confident despite blowing a two-goal lead and settling for a 2-2 draw against defending champion Global last week, Pachanga is fancied to prevail against winless Cebu Queen City United in the 2 p.m. match, before Green Archers tangles with Pasargad.
With four points from two matches, Pachanga only needs a draw to join Stallions as the survivors from the “Group of Death,” but could also leapfrog past the current leaders with a win over the Cebuanos, who are aching to bounce back from a 0-8 loss last week.
Already assured of a spot in the next stage, Green Archers will be looking to boost their seeding in the round of 16 against a Pasargad side that could still snatch the top spot away from them with a big victory in the match that will be aired live over AKTV on IBC13.
The group stage is actually down to the last five matches this weekend that will determine the six remaining teams that will join the likes of bracket winners Loyola Meralco, Air Force Phoenix, Kaya-Cignal, Nomads and Philippine Army.
Air Force and Loyola Meralco topped their respective groups after posting lopsided victories Thursday night.
The Airmen whitewashed Manila All-Japan, 13-0, with Ian Araneta scoring five goals and Reymark Palmes producing a hat-trick in the Group E clash, while the Sparks drubbed sister team, Agila FC, 5-1, in Group B.
Phil Younghusband produced a hat-trick for the Sparks, who missed second-leading scorer Mark Hartmann and defensive midfielder Matthew Hartmann who are currently training with the Under-23 side in Japan.
The three other squads that have already secured their place in the next round as the No. 2 teams from their groups are Diliman Victory Liner, Team Socceroos and Philippine Navy Red Juice.
Powered by Brazilian-Japanese players, Socceroos finished the group stage with six points after beating Agila (2-1) and Internacionale (1-0).
Aside from the two wildcard berths for the best third-ranked teams, still up for grabs is the No. 2 spot in Group A, where Baguio FC also in contention, and Group F, which will be disputed by Manhur and Sunken Garden at 7 p.m. on Sunday at UMak.
In the event that Pachanga beats Cebu, defending champion Global FC, with four points, could still nail one of the two wildcard berths intended for the best third-ranked teams in the group.
Chieffy Caligdong delivered two goals, while Randy Bela-ong, Rolando Duenas and Timothy Rabena contributed a goal each for Air Force in the win against Manila All-Japan.