Down to ten men at the start of the 2nd half, the Los Manilenos of Manila Jeepney had to dig deep within their arsenal to survive what could have been a disappointing loss to 1st round conqueror Forza Alabang FC. With the Alabang-side starting high and constantly on the attack at the whistle, Jangobah Johnson slotted in from an angle the lone goal for Forza on a free kick granted on the 3rd minute. Jeepney GK Coulibaly mistook the shot as the ball floated past him much to the chagrin of the fans and coaching staff. A greater sense of urgency was passed on through by Coach Kale Alvarez at the half following unsuccessful shots on goal in the first segment of regulation period. "The referees were actively watching off-side situations from our counters so it was critical we build up properly” according to the ex-Kaya head coach.
The second half saw crucial substitutions and adjustments to the play of the Manila-side as Arthur Demos Koffi Khouassi and Ref Cuaresma were brought in to bring some fluidity on the attack. Unfortunately, Midfielder Gerald Layumas was booked his second yellow card following a small and inadvertent tussle with a Forza defender right on the 48’ mark rendering Jeepney to only ten men on the pitch. Following a series of long balls back and forth, the Los Manilenos battened the hatches and took to playing tighter and with greater purpose. The fleet-footed Khouassi wiggled for room to slot in a grounder on the 71’ to place the match to a draw. Jeepney continued putting on the pressure with active attacking play from Mikko Mabanag and Sean Iliff. Mabanag’s nifty pass on the 75’ was rewarded with another Khouassi goal to peg the final result, MJFC 2 – FORZA 1.
The win places the “TEAM NG MAYNILA” at 40 points after 18 matches. The club is knocking at the door of promotion with four more matches left. “Make no mistake about it – nothing is sure for us at this stage” as the Manilenos have two tough matches ahead, according to Coach Alvarez. A battle of death is sure to happen as the boys from Manila play a determined Laos FC side on the 24th then another tough one against top drawer, Ceres La Salle FC, fresh from their stint at the AFC President’s Cup club championships. Laos FC, however, will be without their star striker Abou Toure who got red carded in their tussle today against Air Force FC. “We cannot and will not take these teams lightly” adds Coach Kale.
About Manila Jeepney FC
Manila Jeepney FC (MJFC) is a newly established football club based in the City of Manila, the Philippines. The club is wholly owned by Manila Jeepney FC Inc. and the men’s senior team is coached by former national player Kale Alvarez. MJFC envisages a club composed mostly of homegrown local football talent obtainable all over the country. Its goals are to compete actively in top flight football competitions in the Philippines and support the development of football in the city of Manila through academies, training programs and other relevant activities.