MANILA, Philippines - Loyola Meralco Sparks FC outran Stallion FC in the dying minutes of their goal-clad match, 6-4, to end their United Football League (UFL) FA League Cup group stage campaign on a high note at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium (RMFS) on Thursday, October 23.
Early in the game, the aggressive offense of the Sparks made the blitz of their opponents to rely mainly on counter attacks.
The counter insurgences that Stallion capitalized during the opening minutes of the match proved to be useful as Jordan Mintah surprised the defense of Loyola and notched a goal from just inside the box.
Both clubs remained silent on the pitch for the remaining minutes of the first half until veteran booter Freddy Gonzalez struck the ball to equalize the score at 1-1 before halftime.
Nguene Landry wrote the opening sentence for the second half by beating three defenders to get a shot at goal and take the lead for Stallion, 1-2.
On the other end, Loyola swiftly responded with a duo of goals to post a 3-2 courtesy of Charlie Beaton in the 63rd minute and Max Wright in the 68th.
A handball inside the box resulted into a penalty kick given to the Stallion side. Mario Clariño took and converted the penalty to level the score at 3-3.
Loyola star striker Phil Younghusband, who came in during the 60th minute, broke the scoring standstill after his long distance shot found the back of the net to once again inch his team ahead of their foes, 4-3.
There was no shortage of goals in the match as another goal was sank by Clariño in the 78th minute to again bring the game into a deadlock, 4-4.
Fresh legs became instrumental in the Sparks’ late game rally as substitute Graham Caygill slotted a sneaky shot to give his team a 5-4 advantage in the 89th minute.
Stallion FC exhausted the last few drops of fuel in their gas tanks to hopefully equalize the score before regulation ended but their efforts went unrewarded as P. Younghusband struck the final whip to give Loyola a 6-4 win.
Meanwhile, Kaya FC slipped past Global FC, 2-1 to take the number one spot in Group B while Ceres La Salle FC dominated Philippine Army FC, 3-0, to end the group stage without a loss.
The UFL FA League Cup quarterfinals will commence on Sunday, October 26 with games between Ceres La Salle FC and Stallion FC followed by the game of Global FC and Laos FC.
Lastly, the quarterfinal meeting of Pachanga Diliman FC versus Manila All-Japan and the Kaya FC versus Loyola FC match-up will be held on Monday, October 27. All games will still be held at the RMFS. - Rappler.com