LOYOLA Meralco turned to the prolific Younghusband brothers to ground Philippine Air Force, 2-0, and move up to second place in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium on Tuesday night.
James and Phil Younghusband emerged the goal scorers for the Sparks, who increased their point total to 29 points and move ahead of defending champion Global.
But Sparks coach Vince Santos refused to think too much about putting pressure on their fellow leaders, and instead maintained his focus on his shorthanded club, which is still missing the services of Koreans Jang Jo Won and Park Min Ho and scoring threat Freddy Gonzalez.
“For us, we look at our games. We can only affect changes on our matches so we try not to get too fixated on Global or Stallion. Important for us is every day we get better, we learn something different, keep improving.”
James Younghusband put the Sparks on the scoreboard by striking 17 minutes into the game, after which his younger brother doubled the lead 11 minutes before second-half stoppage when he converted a penalty kick that was awarded after James was fouled.
The elder Younghusband could have dealt further damage later on, but his header off a rebound from Mark Hartmann’s free kick attempt just hit the right post.
Still, the match with the Airmen was a tightly fought one compared to the Sparks’ last two victories when the team put up a goal difference of +12.
“I think we did well to create chances. I don’t know if their (Air Force’s) ‘keeper was lucky or we were off or somewhat, but the fact that we created chances, I can’t be too hard on the boys,” said Santos, whose team snapped the Airmen’s two-game winning streak.
“I think today we had enough opportunities. I guess we have to work on our finishing some more,” he added.
The main game of the doubleheader was marred by a commotion seven minutes before stoppage time that led to a red card on Airmen’s Antonio Albor Jr. and a yellow card on the Sparks’ Jang Joo Wong.
Albor scored the winner in Air Force’s game against Army last Saturday.
Air Force stayed in ninth place with six points.