UFL Week 1: Stallion dominates Sunday action, Global off to bad starthttp://www.interaksyon.com/interaktv/uf ... -bad-start
The UFL league competition got off to an explosive start over the weekend, delivering a little bit of everything. There were upsets, gallant fight-backs, and even an absolute mauling. With the first set of fixtures out of the way, it’s looking as if this season will be extremely tight and difficult to predict.
Saturday’s matches saw defending champs Air Force get completely dominated by a resurgent Kaya side and highly-regarded Loyola Meralco Sparks survive an inspired comeback from Green Archers United.
Eric Dagroh was the man on the score sheet against the recent Cup champions, putting the ball past the seemingly impenetrable Tats Mercado in the 4th minute to give coach Juan Cutillas’ side the perfect start to the season. A combination of poor finishing and heroic keeping from the reliable Mercado was the only thing keeping Air Force from being absolutely annihilated in its opening game. Saying it was a poor performance from the Airmen in the 1-0 defeat would be putting it mildly.
In the second game of the day, Phil Younghusband scored two to put his team comfortably ahead in the first half and shortly after the restart, Byeong Yeol Jeong gave Loyola what looked surely like the nail in the coffin. Green Archers United had other plans however, launching a brilliant comeback that was kicked off, quite ironically, by two successive missed penalties. With Loyola midfielder Taku Yoshioka sent off in the process, momentum quickly shifted to the Archers, and goals courtesy of Arnie Pasinabo and Reynald Villareal pulled them within just one goal from sharing the points. The all important third never came though, and despite finishing the match in a very impressive manner, the Green Archers walked away with nothing in the 3-2 result.
Sunday’s matches offered much of the same intensity with Nomads, Pasargad, Global, Army, Navy and Stallions all in action. Most eyes were understandably on the Global-Army clash, with everyone interested to see how Dan Palami’s new big-name signings would bed in to the side.
And much like the beginning of the cup, Global got their campaign off to the worst possible start, being stunned by Army 2-0 in a match that saw key player Angel Guirado sent off with a straight red card as well. Goals from Relan Bretana in both halves did the damage, as Army made the most of what little possession they could muster throughout the match.
Stallion has been tipped by many to be the dark horse of the tournament and it kicked the season off proving the hype has been justified, hammering hapless Navy 6-0 to leap into the top of the standings. Ernie Nierras’ side was relentless throughout, a hat-trick from Joo Young Lee combined with goals from Byeung Jun Yoon, Bo Bae Park, and Jomar Lestingio proved Stallion is keen to build on their impressive Cup run.
A duel between newly-promoted clubs Nomads and Pasargad proved a very entertaining affair, as both clubs fought to the finish in a highly competitive match. There were four goals in a pulsating first half, with Nomads needing to equalize despite opening the scoring on the 12th minute through a Randy Musters free kick. Quick-fire goals from Charlie Sutcliffe and Jay Torres reversed the tie in Pasargad’s favor, but Yves Luthi De-Luis equalized a few minutes before half time. Phil Connoly completed the comeback, scoring in the 48th minute to hand Nomads a precious 3-2 win.
Diliman topped the performances of second division clubs on the weekend, destroying Manila All-Japan 10-0.
The drama is just getting started in the league, and if the first day was any indication, we’re in for one hell of a season.