Younghusbands-less Sparks shine in UFL season opener
By Alder Almo
The Loyola Meralco Sparks came back from a one-goal deficit to open the new United Football League (UFL) season with a 4-1 win over Phil. Army on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Sparks shrugged off the absence of their key stars scoring the last four goals of the match to run away with the season-opening win.
Without the Younghusband brothers and starting keeper Ref Cuaresma, who are with the Azkals in Myanmar, Loyola groped for form at the start allowing Phil. Army to wrest early control.
The Troopers was the first to open fire courtesy of Relan Bretana’s goal in the 18th minute mark. But 14 minutes later, the Sparks found the equalizer in a Freddy Gonzales’ header from a Mark Hartmann corner.
Gonzales’ first goal in a Sparks uniform opened the floodgates with three more of his teammates joining the scoring parade. Hartmann gave Loyola the lead via penalty kick before halftime.
Korean Jeong Byeong Yeol and Chad Gould padded the lead in the second half.
The Troopers were also missing their Azkals keeper Ed Sacapano, Boogie Margarse and Roel Gener.