THE agonizing wait is over for Stallion.
Global squandered a huge lead and a golden opportunity as it lost to Kaya, 3-2, in another monumental collapse that ended its reign as United Football League champion at the Emperdor Stadium in Taguig on a rainy Thursday night.
Its coronation derailed after settling for a draw against Loyola Meralco in their final game of the season Tuesday, Stallion was finally labelled as champion when everything was over as it finished the season with 46 points.
Global still has a game left in its schedule, but a win could only increase its point total to 43.
In an outcome that mirrored the first-round meeting between both teams, Global built a two-goal lead courtesy of a brace from Izzo El-Habbib, before allowing Kaya to mount an unbelievable comeback to pull off the pulsating victory.
“We went two goals down again and I thought to myself, ‘surely, it can’t happen again’,” Kaya coach David Perkovic admitted. “But when we got that penalty, I thought it was what we needed before halftime last game, and it’s what we needed before halftime this game.”
“One thing we were good at in both games was we didn’t give up,” the Australian mentor continued. “We didn’t think for a minute that we were going to lose. We didn’t panic and we got rewarded for it.”
El-Habbib knocked in the first two goals of the game, with the Sudanese striker scoring nine minutes into the game after numerous fakes that left the Kaya defense in a daze, before doubling the lead in the 35thminute.
The Stallion booters, who came out and watched the game in the stands, were obviously cheering for Kaya but momentarily, couldn’t bear the sight of Global protecting a two-goal lead.
“I thought about leaving at halftime because it was really, really hard to stay here and see them lose,” said Stallions skipper Joaco Cañas, who wore a Dwayne Wade Team USA jersey before switching to a green Stallion kit after the game to celebrate.
Kaya, though, began its rally, starting with a Chris Greatwich conversion off the rebound from a missed penalty strike that hit the right post.
After Junior Muñoz scored to knot the count11 minutes into the second half, Global seemed to have run out of luck as Carli de Murga gifted Kaya with an own goal 10 minutes before stoppage time.
“That (penalty) was the defining point of the game that gave them a wee bit of belief,” said Global coach Brian Reid, who also suffered a separate loss on Thursday after a 1-0 defeat by the Philippine under-23 team against Singapore.
The Scottish mentor also handles the PH under-23 team.
“(Stallion) is the best team in the Philippines now. The hard work of our group of players every day is finally rewarded,” Cañas said as Stallion swept the Cup and League titles this season.