By Kevin Estrada
MANILA--Stallion had to survive an undermanned but aggressive JP Voltes side before prevailing in a tight and physical encounter, 2-1 as the UFL Cup concluded its seventh day on Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Forward Jim Ashley Flores and center-back Sam Bonney each struck early in either halves as the 2013 holder withstood a late flurry of attacks by Voltes to remain unbeaten in Group A with their third successive victory while snapping its victim's unbeaten run to two wins.
A consolation header by Tadashi Odawara in the hour mark are not enough for the former playoff winner, in which they played the last 42 minutes without Masaki Yanagawa as they were consigned to third place behind Kaya on inferior goal difference.
Both clubs played in a physical and almost even affair althroughout the match with Stallion having the slight edge in possession and shots.
Thirty-seven fouls were whistled by Linjun Talaver, who also issued seven yellow cards and one red which signified the aggressive nature of the match.
Although Stallion had the firepower edge, it was Voltes who dictate the pace in the first 15 minutes, where in they took five free kicks but no one had found past Johann Noetzel.
Flores draw first blood in the 20th minute, when he fired a looping right footer that went over Nelson Gasic from outside of the box.
Stallion could have been 2-0 up eight minutes later, but a free header by David Basa was saved easily by Gasic.
Sam Bonney finally confirmed that two minutes into the restart when he rose to Nate Alquiros' corner kick into the middle left corner.
Things got worse for Voltes almost immediately, where Yanagawa was sent off for a second bookable offence after he was cautioned for delayed restart.
But despite being down to ten men, Voltes shifted into high gear, as they banging on the door multiple times thru player-manager Yu Hoshide's two free kicks which went almost in, with the second one rocking the deep left crossbar.
With a minute past the hour mark, Odawara pulled one back past the hour mark off an another Yu free kick from the right wing.
Voltes could have made the first draw of the cup with 10 minutes to go in the match, but Noetzel saved Ernie Nierras' blushes when he grabbed the ball off Jay Shaun Soberano to preserve their immaculate record in their group.
Nierras admitted that Stallion laxed a little bit when Voltes went down to ten men early in the second half.
"Just because they [Voltes] are a man down, it doesn't mean that they are giving up", with the manager referred to the NU-FEU match last Thursday in UAAP, wherein the Bulldogs have managed to hold the reigning champions in a 4-goal stalemate.
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Published last: 2016-03-09 05:48:43