Palami sees more in Global victory over Malaysian club
For Global-Cebu, it was a win that meant more than just three points in an AFC Cup group stage game at home.
Since it started competing in continental competitions in 2013, the club had been in search of a victory that would cement its reputation as one of Southeast Asia’s strongest clubs.
A hard-earned 3-2 win over Malaysian champion Johor Darul Tazim on Wednesday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium finally reinforced Global’s rising stock.
The Filipinos also regained top spot in Group F with a third win in four games for nine points, two ahead of JDT.
“Yes, its a group stage win, but its a victory against a former (AFC Cup) champion who beat us 4-0 three weeks ago,” Global owner Dan Palami said. “It may just be our biggest win as a club.”
Johor, the three-time defending Malaysian Super League champion, won the AFC Cup two years ago and reached the semifinals last year. The club is also the most well-funded in the MSL.
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.
But everything fell into place for Global in an eight-minute spell in the first half where Dennis Villanueva, Shu Sasaki and Amani Aguinaldo scored to give the Filipinos enough cushion to hold off a late JDT fightback.
“Our hunger showed in the way we played,” said Aguinaldo, whose goal in the 35th minute turned out to be the difference between the two sides.
The win puts Global on course of topping the group and reaching the Asean zonal semifinals for the first time.
Global has already beaten Magwe of Burma (Myanmar) and Beoung Ket Angkor of Cambodia in the initial round of the double round group stage.
“I think the players will once again believe in themselves that if they can do that against JDT, maybe they could do that against other teams,” said Palami.
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