By Jerome S. Galunan Jr.
Host-Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) was too much for the visiting Negros Oriental Football Association (NORFA) after it recorded a 6-1 blast in yesterday’s opener of the PFF-Smart National U22 Amateur Championship at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Diomar Caruscay opened the host’s scoring spree with an 8th minute goal before former University of St. La Salle standout and NORFA star, Charle Ralph Allan Dabao III, equalized the scoreboard in the 11th minute.
However, NOFA reinforcement Ilemona Usman came red hot with 5 goals – 4 in the first half. The Nigerian national beat his NORFA defenders to give NOFA a goal lead in the 31st minute.
Eight minutes later, Usman got his second goal from out of the box before hitting two more goals in the 42nd and 44th minutes to end the half at 5-1.
In the second half, both sides played slow due to the scorching heat at the Panaad stadium.
But before the referee blew his final whistle, Usman nailed an exclamation goal in the 90+4 to seal NOFA’s first win.
Cebu and Leyte FA were still playing at press time in the other scheduled game.
For NOFA mentor John Carmona, the win was a great start for the team. “We made some major adjustments in the early minutes after we had several misjudgments in our defense.
“Fortunately, the players well responded to the instructions. But the temperature in the second half caused our players to slow down,” he said.
Carmona further said that in their play against Leyte today, they would also make some adjustments to avoid making mistakes.
Meanwhile, NOFA president Ricky Yanson Jr. said that PFF’s decision to award the hosting rights to the provincial association was based on their capability to run the tournament and its strong fan base./WDJ