FAILED anew to get the match to the dock caused local side Global Cebu FC a chance to extend its campaign in the 2017 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
Needing to win in the second leg of its ASEAN zonal semifinals with Home United FC last Tuesday in Singapore, Global was seemingly on its way to delivering until another late-match “crash” altered the outcome for the team that saw it lose, 3-2, in the match and, 5-4, on aggregate, effectively eliminating it from the secondary club football tournament hosted by the AFC.
Things began to make a U-turn for Global when defender Dennis Villanueva was red-carded in the 71st minute for what was deemed a wild challenge.
At that point, Global was still in command, 2-1, with goals from strikers Kemy Agustien (45’) and Shu Sasaki (49’).
Reduced to 10 men, however, Global found the going even tougher as the match wore on with the home team turning on the heat.
Home United’s pressure and aggressive paid off when forward Stipe Plazibat found the bottom of the net in the 89th minute to level the score at 2-2.
He then completed Home United’s comeback win when he scored in the fourth minute of injury time by way of a free kick that sailed past Global goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, sending hometown fans in celebration while leaving Global players slumped on the field in frustration.
The path that the second leg took was eerily similar to that of the first leg at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium early last month with Global ahead, 2-1, before things unraveled for the team.
Defender Amani Aguinaldo was sent off after two yellow cards that left the team with 10 men and Mr. Plazibat the hero after scoring the equalizer with a last-second goal that forced the match to a 2-2 draw.
After the away loss that signaled their AFC Cup exit, interim Global coach Marjo Allado said the result had them frustrated since they were close to sealing things, but nonetheless gave credit to his players for the effort they put in.
“I’m not disappointed by the efforts of the players because we were almost there, but we came up short and we were down one man. The players gave their all on the field but when we got a red card things really changed. What happened today was the same as the first time and we kept on telling them that. We never thought this would happen again,” the coach said in the post-match press conference.
Next for Global is to return to the country and resume its campaign in the Philippines Football League.
In the 2017 AFC Cup, Global topped Group F with a 5-0-1 record and 15 points to advance to the ASEAN Zonal Semifinals.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) has released the list of players called up for national team duties for the country’s AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Qualifiers match against Tajikistan on June 13.
The 23 players are Mr. Aguinaldo (Global Cebu), Fitch Johnson Daviz Arboleda (Stallion Laguna), Misagh Bahadoran (Global Cebu), Jeffrey Christiaens (Ceres-Negros), Kenshiro Michael Daniels (Kaya FC-Makati), Dominic Liam Del Rosario (Ilocos United), Mr. Deyto (Global Cebu), Kevin Ingreso (Ceres-Negros) and Hikaru Minegishi (Global Cebu).
Also in the list are Jim Junior Munoz (Ceres-Negros), Nicholas O’Donnell (Global Cebu) Manuel Ott (Ceres-Negros), Iain Ramsay (Ceres-Negros), Camelo Tacusalme (JPV Marikina), Antonio Miguel Ugarte (Kaya FC-Makati), Mr. Villanueva (Global Cebu), Nathanael Ace Villanueva (Meralco Manila), Luke Woodland (Ceres-Negros), James Joseph Younghusband (Meralco Manila), Philip James Younghusband (Meralco Manila), Mike Rigoberto Ott (Angthong United), Javier Patino (Henan Jianye) and Daisuke SATO (Iasi).
The PFF also said the same players will see action in the Philippine Azkals’ international friendly against China in Guangzhou on June 7.
In the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers, the Azkals, currently ranked at 127th in the world, are bracketed in Group F along with Tajikistan, Yemen and Nepal.
They won their first match against Nepal, 4-1, on home soil in March with skipper Phil Younghusband scoring a brace and Messrs. Ramsay and Patino having a goal each.