Matthew Nierras’ injury-time goal cancelled Shu Sasaki’s 84th minute strike as Stallion Laguna FC and Global Cebu FC share spoils in their first PFL clash in Biñan Football Stadium.
by Earl Averilla
The first half started with both sides sizing each other up in the early proceedings. However, Global was presented a chance in the 9th minute but Sasaki’s attempt flew over the bar.
Eventually, both teams begin to settle into their respective rhythms and style of play with Global gaining more ground in the midfield and possession department while Stallion threatened from the flanks and their speedy counterattacks.
On the number of chances, Global enjoyed more of them, as their dominant midfielders and height advantage presented some opportunities in front of goal but they were not able to capitalize as most of their attempts went off target. Stallion also came up with shots that should have found the net but were unsuccessful to convert as well.
With the looming stalemate, notable performances go to both sides’ goalkeepers as Patrick Deyto of Global and Dely Sadia of Stallion came up with crucial saves and blocks to keep their respective sides in the game.
In the 43rd minute a minor setback came into Stallion as Arnel Casil was substituted with either a suspected knee or leg injury and was replaced by Jesus Joaquin Melliza as the first half came to a close with a 0-0 scoreline.
In the early stages of the second half Global was awarded a penalty kick for a foul by Stallion inside their box. Paul Mulders took the spot kick but Dely Sadia produced a fine display of anticipation and reflexes as he perfectly parried the shot to deny Global a what could have been the first goal of the game.
With rain expected in the forecast, the sky from around the early part of the second half was overcast but the downpour did not happen. It contributed though to a milder overall ambient temperature that might have made the overall play improve in terms of pace and intensity as both squads went all-in to get the win.
Both teams traded threatening passes as the push for the winning goal went to its critical point. The ice was finally broken as Hikaru Minegishi produced a quality pass for Shu Sasaki who accelerated and beat the offside trap to calmly slot the ball into the back of the net and make it 1-0 in favor of Global FC.
The visitors seemed to have put the win in the bag as Stallion tried in vain to get a decent enough attempt for an equalizer, with the clock starting to wind down reaching injury time. However, just right in the death throes of the game, Stallion Laguna still had some fight under their sleeves in the form of Matthew Nierras who calmly controlled a ball in the box and with a collected yet firm strike, guided the ball true to its target to hand his team a well-earned and needed equalizer as the game ended at 1-1.
After the game, Global Cebu coach Marjo Allado took note of the issue in closing out games and defending one goal advantages as this has been the second time that their rival has scored an equalizer against them in injury time (the other one was against Home United in the AFC Cup zonal semifinal first leg):
“This is of course about adjustment again, because we have Kaya in the next two days. So we do not want this to happen again, giving up goals in the last minute of the game or injury time.”
Stallion coach Ernie Nierras meanwhile was positive with the result as he acknowledged the strength of their rivals:
“Global is a team to beat. So to get one point from them in our home pitch… it was good to get that point.”
Matthew Nierras, who scored the equalizing goal also shared his thoughts on the game:
“I believe we didn’t deserve to lose this match… Obviously we want to get the three points but I’m happy that we didn’t lose. We wanted to bounce back (from their defeat against FC Meralco) so not losing is a good start. I am just happy to contribute to the team, even if I wasn’t the one who scored I’ll be happy that we didn’t lose.”
With the result Stallion should take this as motivation heading into their next fixture as the manner of grinding out the result speaks volumes of the real potential and capabilities that the squad has, not to mention the mental fortitude they showed in spite of the adversity.
Meanwhile Global, with the level of strength and talent that they possess, might treat this result as a missed opportunity to strengthen their position in the league standings as they face a possibly very tough proposition against Kaya in their next match.
Follow this writer on Twitter @earlaverilla
Published last: 2017-05-23 02:10:22