RHB Singapore Cup 2017 (Quarter-Final, Second Leg)
Global FC (PHI) vs Boeung Ket FC (CAM)
(11 August, Friday, 7.30pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)
Written by: Rashid Sulaiman
Despite holding a two-goal advantage over Boeung Ket FC, Global Cebu FC head coach Akbar Nawas acknowledges that the tie is far from over as the two teams meet again in the second leg of the RHB Singapore Cup 2017 Quarter-Final at Jalan Besar Stadium on Friday night.
Global dominated the first leg as they romped to a 3-1 win over the Cambodians just three days ago. Paulo Salenga’s brace was sandwiched by Misagh Bahadoran’s goal while Khoun Labarovy scored from the spot for Boeung Ket in the second half.
Although the People’s Club were without the suspended veteran holding midfielder Paul Mulders, they had no difficulties controlling the middle of the park with captain Bahadoran leading the way alongside Hikaru Minegishi, Dennis Villanueva and Paolo Bugas.
Travelling with a depleted squad to Singapore, Akbar was forced to move Salenga to a more attacking role, partnering former Trinidad and Tobago striker Darryl Roberts.
The gamble paid off though, as the ex-National University player dazzled the crowd with his nifty footwork and adventurous runs in the final third to put his name in the scoresheet.
“Of course, I’m happy to take this scoreline into the second leg but I’d be even happier if we got an additional goal. Everyone in the team - from the players to the coaching staff - deserves a pat on their backs,” said Akbar after their first leg victory over Boeung Ket.
With a tight fixture list and no luxury of switching players for the return leg, Akbar has called on his players to remain focused and seal the win come Friday.
“We are playing like five or more games in less than two weeks. Travelling around Philippines for our matches is not like Singapore. It is not easy for the players,” added the former Tampines Rovers coach.
“I wish that I could change some players for the second leg, but I can’t. So we now have to focus not only on their physical recovery but also the mind.
“It’s a new game on Friday and the first leg score must not be on our mind. We will go out and play to our best and get another result,” explained Akbar who could only name three substitutes on the bench in the first leg.
For Boeung Ket, they have a lot of work to do on their side if they are to make it to the last four. While their players showed great determination to match their opponents, they need to be more clinical in front of goal.
The Cambodians relied heavily on their two Nigerian imports, Esoh Omogba and Samuel Ajayi with captain Khoun Laboravy slotting just behind the pair. Former Bangkok Glass forward Ajayi had several goal-scoring opportunities in the first leg, but failed to put them away.
“We played well today (first leg) but failed to convert the chances that we created. At the back, we made a number of mistakes and were punished - something we are looking to improve on ahead of the second leg,” said Boeung Ket head coach Hao Socheat.
“But I felt we matched our opponents as we limited them to only a few clear chances which I’m happy about. We now have to go out and attack in the second leg and try to get a result.”
Suspension: Serge Kaole (Global Cebu FC)