|Stallion dispatches tough Archers side to book first UFL Finals match
Sometimes it is best not to shout one’s instructions during a match.
With the semifinals match between Green Archers United and Stallion tied at 1-1 and looking more like it was going to a penalty shootout, the former’s staff yelled out to their players to move back and play a more compact defense and to instead send long balls to forward Tating Pasilan who they hoped had enough in the tank to beat the defenders. In a penalty shootout, Archers liked their chances because goalkeeper Patrick Deyto had yet to lose one and opposite number Wilson Muñoz was not a hundred percent.
Unfortunately for the Archers, their instructions were loud and clear for all to hear and Stallion, made a simple adjustment.
Stallion head coach Ernie Nierras instructed his players that once they got in deep and the Archers’ defense followed, they were to lay the ball off to an open teammate who would run behind in support. There was an opportunity for Jovanie Simpron to find a teammate but he opted to fire away at Archers keeper Patrick Deyto who was superb at goal. The next time it materialized, late sub OJ Clarino put on some moves to ditch his defender and clear space for Won Hyung Lee whose volley was true. Two-one for Stallion in the 99th minute.
The air escaped the Archers who were running on fumes in extra time. They had scored first after a thunderous Pasilan strike in the 55th minute and looked mighty good from thereon. Unfortunately for the Rodolfo Alicante coached side, they lost central back Lawrence Ikegwuruka in the 66th minute to a second yellow card following a near fight.
Archers’ forward Jon Melliza was bearing down on Munoz when Stallion defender Bervic Italia tackled him. Melliza crumpled in a heap forcing the vociferous protests from the Archers players and bench who demanded a foul and a penalty. Pasilan took exception to the take down and shoved Italia sending players from both sides scampering towards the scrum. Ikegwuruka was one of four players cautioned by referee Rey Ritaga but it was Archers who paid for it as Ikegwuruka was sent off.
Ikegwuruka’s loss was immediately felt by Archers as they suddenly lost their focus on the match. Doctora banged in the equalizer in the 71st minute.
With a second consecutive penalty shootout looming for Stallion, they hoped to end the match by sending more field players to join the attack leaving central back Joaco Cañas to deal with any longball threat. And that’s where Stallion overheard the Archers staff’s instructions.
Following Lee’s goal, Doctora added a brace to put the game beyond reach for Archers.
The win put Stallion in its first UFL Finals match ever where they will go up against Global who last won the cup in 2010.
Controversy arose moments after the match ended when Archers’ backup goalkeeper Martin Villaflor was issued a yellow card by Ritaga after the former complained about the calls. GAU team manager Monchu Garcia angrily confront the match official who he decried as “too card happy.”
Notes: Stallion coach Ernie Nierras will miss the UFL Cup Finals as he flew to the United States today to oversee the tryouts of some 60 Fil-Americans for the Philippine Women’s Football National Team in California. The national distaff side will likewise participate in the LA Vikings Cup that kicks off on November 23. Dr. Eu Hyung Pee who is also co-head coach of the club will oversee Stallion’s preparations for the Finals where they will go up against Global.