By Karlo Sacamos
A PHILIPPINE Army side handled by a familiar figure got back on the winning track as it blanked Pasargad, 2-0, to end its first-round campaign in the United Football League on a positive note on Thursday at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
With Filipino assistant coach Ricky Cain back to handle the reins after co-head coach Min Byung Jik returned to his native Korea, the Troopers, reinforced by Koreans from General Trias International, regained the chemistry that was missing in the past games.
Boogie Margarse and Shin Seok Jeon found the back of the net for the Troopers, who snapped a three-game skid and vaulted two places up to fifth with 10 points at the end of the first round.
The only remaining military squad in Division 1 atoned for a humiliating 1-9 loss to Kaya last timewhile dealing Pasargad its sixth loss in eight games to stay at the bottom with four points.
“Bumalik na rin yung tiwala sa isa’t-isa,” Cain said. “Dati hindi kami magkaintindihan dahil yung mga player ko, iba-iba yung position (sa natural nilang position). Nagkaroon kami ng (communication) gap.”
Proving their communication difficulties are a thing of the past, Margarse, a former Azkal, unlocked the Pasargad defense just 11 minutes into the game, before fellow homegrown Filipino Ed Sacapaño rejected two shots by Hamed Fateh.
Shin sneaked in a goal three minutes into second-half stoppage time to put the outcome beyond doubt.
Riding the momentum of a breakthrough 2-1 victory, against Pachanga last Saturday, Pasargad almost scored, but Fateh’s conversion in the 86th minute was ruled out after being called for handball.