Global on cusp of UFL victory
GLOBAL can already smell the United Football League championship, but newly minted Global coach John Burridge is in no mood to celebrate just yet.
Goals from Pika Minegishi, Arthur Kouassi and Dennis Villanueva boosted Global to a 3-1 drubbing of Green Archers last Sunday at Rizal Memorial Stadium, sending the reigning UFL Cup champion to within a couple of wins from completing a rare season double.
With 41 points, Global kept its seven-point lead on Loyola Meralco at the top of the table with four games remaining for each team.
That means the only way for the Sparks to catch up with Global is to sweep all their remaining games while the leaders drop at least three of their remaining four matches.
The Sparks boosted their top two bid after Kouichi Belgira’s second half strike secured a come-from-behind 3-2 win over JP Voltes.
“We’ve got one hand on the trophy,” said Global’s Patrick Deyto.
But Burridge, a former goalkeeper in the English leagues hired by Global CEO Dan Palami last month, said victory against JP Voltes on tomorrow could probably seal it for the club.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” Burridge said. “We don’t think about anything else but JP Voltes on Wednesday.”
Minegishi scored within 16 seconds from kickoff before Kouassi doubled the lead in the 35th minute. Chieffy Caligdong struck from the penalty spot to trim the deficit three minutes after the break, but Villanueva restored the advantage at the hour mark.
Tahj Minniecon struck in the second minute for the Sparks, capitalizing on poor position from Voltes goalkeeper Nelson Gasic, but Alen Angeles equalized in the 21st minute with a header off a well-worked set piece.
Voltes took the lead through J Baguioro in the 36th minute, scoring from a tight angle after Gui Hasegawa had spilled the ball to his path.
Phil Younghusband tied the match from the penalty spot in the 55th minute, after Joaco Canas was fouled inside the box. Kouichi Belgira struck the winner in the 75th minute off an assist from Simon Greatwich.
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