Karl Decena, InterAksyon.com
The Loyola Meralco Sparks stamped their class against rival Global FC with a 4-nil rout to open their 2014 United Football League campaign on Tuesday at the Emperador Stadium.
Freddy Gonzalez, who was sidelined with a knee injury last season, made his presence felt after scoring one goal and setting up a couple of Loyola attacks in the match.
The Sparks opened the floodgates at the seventh minute when Lee Joo Young scored off an assist by Gonzalez for an early 1-nil lead by Loyola.
Loyola continued to pounce on the attack which paid off right before the halftime whistle as Gonzalez got fouled on top of the box, awarding the Sparks a free kick which they nailed after confusing the Global defense.
Facing a six-man Global wall, Loyola pulled out their bag of tricks to convert a goal. Lee faked his attempt on the first kick, followed by another fake by James Younghusband before his brother Phil took the shot which sliced through the defense to give the Sparks a 2-nil halftime edge.
Gonzalez finally joined the scoring fray after converting a header off a corner kick at the 49th minute.
The Sparks shackled Global for the remainder of the match, with the former League champion failing to get good looks at the goal.
Matt Hartmann then found the back of the net at the 94th minute to seal the victory for Loyola.
After winning the Cup title, the Sparks got off to a good start in their League campaign after beginning their season with three points and beating Global, one of their rivals for the championship this year.
Apart from the disappointing scoreline, Global failed to notch a victory in the debut of coach Leigh Manson, who took over the squad just before the start of the season.