Global stuns JDT, regains top spot in AFC Cup
An inspired Global-Cebu side brought down a giant in Malaysian champion Johor Darul Tazim, 3-2, on Wednesday night to regain top spot in Group F of the AFC Cup at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Goals from Dennis Villanueva, Shu Sasaki and Amani Aguinaldo in a frenetic eight-minute spell in the first half gave Global enough cushion to hold off JDT’s late fightback.
It was the biggest victory by the Filipino club, considering JDT’s stature and winning tradition in the AFC Cup.
The three-time defending Malaysian Super League champions won the AFC Cup two years ago and reached the semifinals last year.
— Cedelf P. Tupas (@cedelfptINQ) April 5, 2017
In contrast, Global plays in a less established league in the Philippines and is entered in the second tier continental tournament for just the second time after ruling the United Football League last season. Global also missed skipper Misagh Bahadoran who was sidelined by a knee injury.
More importantly, the victory gave Global the inside track in the race for a spot in the Asean zonal semifinals with its third win in four outings for nine points, while JDT fell to its first loss in four matches. Johor has seven points.
Eager to avenge its 0-4 defeat to JDT three weeks ago at Larkin Stadium, the Filipinos got off to a rousing start with Villanueva stabbing home from close range off a cross from Pika Minegishi in the 27th minute.
Sasaki doubled the advantage three minutes later with a goal on the breakaway before Aguinaldo joined the scoresheet with a scrappy finish off a fine ball from Daryl Roberts on the counterattack in the 35th minute.
JDT made a game out of it in the second half when Gabriel Guerra fired home from outside the box three minutes after the restart, before the Argentinian striker set the stage for a nervy finish with an 84th minute goal.
But Global did just enough to see out the game with Patrick Deyto staying composed on goal.
Global faces Magwe in Myanmar on April 19 before hosting Beoung Ket Angkor of Cambodia on May 3.