By Karlo Sacamos
PASARGAD frustrated Stallion FC with its “slow-down” strategy to force the defending champion to a goalless draw and keep its hopes of staying in Division 1 alive in the United Football League on Tuesday night at the Emperador Stadium.
The relegation-threatened squad saw the Stallions dominate possession, but performed good enough to register only its sixth point overall in 17 games and move just four behind eighth-ranked Socceroo.
“I’m satisfied considering how the Stallions played against us. I’m happy on how my team responded to the pressure and the demand of the game,” said new Pasargad coach Mike Agbayani, who replaced Ayi Aryee a few games back.
But the match was met with criticism from Stallions coach Ernie Nierras, who felt their opponents, particularly goalkeeper William Nsangou, resorted to delaying tactics down the stretch to preserve the result.
“It’s obvious,” a fuming Nierras blurted out. “This is the part I hate. When you do this, it’s not football. I don’t care what your strategy is. If they wanted to play defense all the time, I can’t question that.”
“But don’t delay the game by faking injuries and having your goalkeeper do all that dramatization.”
“If we have people watching the game, they’re gonna get bored. Sometimes, it’s not about winning anymore. We have to maintain the quality of the game,” added the outspoken mentor, whose team still improved to 28 points, eight behind third-running Loyola.
The top-tier match was shown live on Aksyon TV.
Agbayani, who coached in his third game, termed it as a ploy against a fast-paced Stallions side.
“I respect coach Ernie. That’s his point on how he looks upon the game,” Agbayani said. “But for me, it was definitely part of the strategy, part of how we will try to contain our opponent. We slowed down the game because the mode of game of Stallions is really quick paced.”
But the new mentor eventually admitted near the end of the post-game interview of the “delaying tactic” that took the Stallions out of their rhythm.
“Partially, maybe it’s a delaying tactic, maybe my players are matured enough to do that … but it was worth it, getting the point.”