By Karlo Sacamos
Global tries to hurdle one of the remaining obstacles in the road to back-to-back United Football League championships on Thursday night when it squares off with Loyola Meralco at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Coming off a huge 2-1 victory over front-running Stallion-Sta. Lucia last week and a 2-0 blanking of Warriors FC in the Singapore Cup, Global faces another tough test in their 7:30 p.m. encounter with the Sparks, who boast off one of the league’s most offensively-potent lineups led by brothers Phil and James Younghusband.
The Filipino-British siblings were recently called up for national team duty, with the elder James scoring the winner in the Azkals’ 1-0 victory over Hong Kong in their friendly on Tuesday night at Mong Kok Stadium.
The younger Phil scored the equalizer in the two teams’ first-round meeting that ended in a 1-1 draw.
Already out of the title picture after disappointing performances in their last few games, the third-running Sparks are expected to play the spoiler’s role against the defending champion.
Despite being five points behind Stallion, Global has the chance to dislodge the UFL Cup champions and finish the season with a maximum of 49 points.
The Stallions can only reach up to 48 points.
And so, no less than a triumph is necessary for a Global side bannered by national team standouts Jeffrey Christiaens, Misagh Bahadoran, and Marwin Angeles.
“We’re cheering for Loyola to beat or tie Global,” Stallions coach Ernie Nierras admitted.
Philippine Air Force, back in the bottom of the standings, tries to climb out of the direct relegation zone as it takes on fourth-running Kaya earlier at 5:15 p.m.
A win for the Airmen will vault them past military rival and ninth-running Army.