03 Aug FC Meralco Falls 2-1 to Tough Global Cebu
A resolute Global Cebu side collected all three points from their Wednesday visit to Rizal Memorial, handing the Sparks only their second loss of the Philippines Football League season.
An own goal by Milan Nikolic was cancelled out by a Simon Greatwich score but the Cebuanos received their winner from sub OJ Clarino, who headed home in the second half.
The first game without Davao-bound James and Phil Younghusband meant Manila coach Aris Caslib gave starts to Daniel Gadia in midfield and Connor Tacagni up top.
In the 18th minute Milan Nikolic turned the ball into his own net trying to clear a cross. Global could have taken a 2-0 lead seven minutes later but goalie Ace Villanueva stoned Shu Sasaki.
Things got worse at the half-hour for Meralco when centerback Joaco Cañas limped off the park with a hamstring strain. Neil Dorimon came in to replace him.
More good goalkeeping followed when Villanueva denied Paolo Bugas and Pat Deyto of Global turned away a Tyler Matas chance.
But just before the half Manila leveled. Bugas gave the ball away cheaply to Tahj Minniecon, who fed captain Simon Greatwich, who steered the ball past Deyto for 1-1.
Six minutes into the second half Meralco nearly went ahead but Deyto snuffed out a Tahj Minniecon try.
Global withdrew talisman Misagh Bahodaran for OJ Clarino four minutes before the hour, and the Thomasian proved his worth, nodding in a Jerry Barbaso cross in the 68th for 2-1. Clarino could have padded the lead eight minutes later but Villanueva expertly closed him down.
Global’s Paul Mulders was sent off for a second yellow eight minutes from time but Global’s ten men held on for the win. Global moves to third in the table on 25 points with the win.
The Sparks complained bitterly about three handball non-calls during the game. When asked to comment, Manila coach Aris Caslib said “we all have a responsibility to develop the game. Players, coaches, and referees. Let’s hope the officiating evolves as the league evolves.”
Caslib also said “everyone in the team has to step up, but it’s a process. If we all do our job well we can succeed.”
Global’s Man Of The Match Wesley Dos Santos, speaking through an interpreter in the post match press conference, gave credit to Meralco’s strong and fast attack but also praised the work of his fellow defenders Barbaso and Dennis Villanueva (no relation to Ace.)
“Everyone thought it would be a walk in the park without the Younghusbands but it was not the case. It was a tough match,” said Cebu coach Akbar Nawas.
Global next plays Kaya Makati in Rizal Memorial on Saturday night at 7:00 pm.
Photo and article from FC Meralco Manila