LOYOLA Meralco flashed its vaunted form anew to send Philippine Army crashing back to earth with a 5-1 victory on Saturday night in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
Stand-in skipper Phil Younghusband had a big imprint on the game, firing a brace and dishing out two assists as the Sparks pinned the first loss on a Korean-reinforced Troopers side that impressed in its opening game after merging with General Trias International in the offseason.
It was the second successive triumph for the Sparks, who hiked their point total to six to strengthen their hold of the lead in the nine-team standings.
“I think (Army’s) no flimsy team that’s why I’m extra happy with the result today,” Sparks coach Vince Santos said. “To be honest, we had no idea how Army played especially with the Koreans that they picked up.”
Nevertheless, the Sparks, who came into the game tied with Army at the top of the table, showed who’s boss as they banked on an early cushion and never looked back.
Wearing the captain’s armband with brother James out with a sprained left ankle, Younghusband lived up to his role as he started the scoring with a strike off a Matthew Hartmann cross 26 minutes into the game.
African defender Sam Bonney then doubled the lead 10 minutes later with a header off an assist by Freddy Gonzalez, who was at the firing end next with a goal off a Younghusband pass five minutes into the second half.
Younghusband registered his second assist to Lee Won Hyung, who struck in the 75th minute, before Phil punctuated the scoring parade with a free kick that went past the Army human wall and into the upper right corner of net in the 83rd.
The only smudge to an otherwise spotless night was letting the Troopers score on a set piece in the 75th, when an unmarked Boogie Margarse struck off a Roel Gener corner from the left side.