By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion Global salvaged a 2-2 stalemate against newcomer Pachanga last night to keep its last 16 hopes alive in the United Football League Cup at the muddy University of Makati pitch.
Substitute Franco Borromeo fired a volley to the top corner with a minute remaining as Global fought back from two goals down to sustain its bid for a place in the knockout stage.
The draw between two teams belonging to the tournament’s toughest group boosted Stallions FC into the knockout phase. Stallions prevailed, 8-0, over Cebu Queen City to finish their group assignments with six points.
Pachanga will face Queen City on Saturday needing just a draw to seal its entry to the next round. In this scenario, Global can only hope to gain a wild card to the knockout stage by emerging as one of the two best third-placed teams.
Army completed a sweep of its group G assignment with a 4-nil beating of Manhur to also book its place in the next round, while Nomads topped group A with a 9-0 win over Baguio FC.
Kaya-Cignal also finished the group stage unbeaten after a 6-1 victory over ABC Stars at the Alabang Country Club field.
Borromeo’s goal from a pinpoint cross from the debuting Angel Guirado capped an entertaining finish to what started as a dour game hampered by poor pitch conditions.
Pachanga, which hit the post three times in the first half, was finally rewarded in the 50th minute when Shelmar Filongco found an unmarked Joven Bedic, who slotted the ball past a helpless Paolo Pascual.
National team player Neckson Leonora doubled the advantage with a fine individual effort, outsmarting two Global defenders, before rifling in a curling shot from just inside the box 70th minute.
Sparked by the introduction of Guirado early in the second half, Global got back into the game a minute later when Izo El-Habbib followed up the Fil-Spanish’s striker saved effort.