By Karlo Sacamos
Lady Luck hardly seems to smile at Global FC these days.
Already plagued by injuries in the United Football League preseason, the powerhouse squad has been placed in arguably the hardest group in the UFL Cup that’s tentatively set to kick off on October 12.
The former Cup and League titlist, Global has been bracketed in Group C with fellow Division 1 side PSG FC, reigning Smart-PFF National Club Champions Ceres, Division 2 squad Philippine Navy, and guest team Manila Tala FC.
“It’s a tough group,” Global coach Brian Reid admitted after the UFL Cup draw on Friday at Skinny Mike’s Bar in Global City. “A lot of people think we’ve got a massive squad, but we’re reduced to numbers a wee bit with the injuries we’ve had. It’s certainly taking its toll.”
Global is actually undefeated in three games in the preseason, but has seen its lineup slowly getting depleted with injuries and suspensions.
Versatile Azkals mainstay Carli de Murga and first-choice goalkeeper Roland Sadia are currently on the injured list, while Ben Starosta is suspended.
“I think we need to have a change of luck and hopefully no more serious injuries,” Reid said.
Ceres FC, the Bacolod-based squad that’s regarded as one of the best provincial teams in the country, is arguably Global’s toughest groupmate. And team manager Ali Go welcomed the chance of playing the Dan Palami-owned squad.
“We wanna play here because we wanna play with the best teams,” Go said. “And it makes sense na we’re in one group, we’ll face each other right away.”
Ceres toppled Global, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the National Club Championships last January, in a result that further made its presence felt in the metro.
Ceres is just one of the nine guest teams participating in the two-month-long tournament, which features a total of 27 teams and six groups.
Group A is composed of Archers, Forza, Cimarron, Cebu Queen City, and guest team Manila Jeepney. Group B has Loyola Meralco, Philippine Air Force, Agila, and General Trias.
Defending champion Stallion leads the cast in Group D, which also has Army, Dolphins United, and guest team Blue Guards, while Group E features Pachanga, Socceroo, Laos, Mendiola, and guest team Bright Star.
Finally, Group F is composed of Kaya, Union Internacionale Manila, Manila All-Japan, and guest squad Manila Hurricanes.
The top three teams in Groups A, C, and E will advance to the Round of 16, while the top two teams and the best third-place squad in Groups B, D, and F will progress to the next stage.