‘Weary’ Ceres falls to Global in UFL Cup final

Four days removed from the AFC Cup match, a visibly-tired Ceres-La Salle FC succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Global FC in the 2016 UFL Cup final last April 16 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Misagh Bahadoran scored a brace while Matt Hartmann added another for Global while Nate Burkey scored the lone goal for Ceres.

The Busmen had a good start in the game when Bienvenido Maranon passed into the the dangerous area towards Patrick Reichelt who tried to chip Patrick Deyto but the Global keeper easily collects the attempt. Reichelt almost made it a goal for Ceres with a header from the corner but Deyto tipped it over the crossbar just in the nick of time.

Global had their first go in the 8th minute when Matt Hartmann recovered a clearance but his shot was way over. A minute later, Adrian Gallardo collected a bad backpass but his chip attempt was to strong and sailed over the bar.

The match became very physical afterwards with hard tackles and a shoving match between the two teams. The Dan Palami-backed squad started to mark their influence in the game getting a pair of chances from Hartmann and Dennis Villanueva. Their persistence was rewarded in the 21st when their ball into the box grazed on Sang Mins head forcing Louie Michael Casas for the reaction save but the ball slipped through his grasp which allowed Misagh Bahadoran to pounce for the opener.

Bahadoran was again dangerous moments later when he dispossessed Guirado but his eventual shot was blocked by Casas. A follow-up shot by Global on the initial attempt was cleared off the line. A minute later Bahadoran broke through the defense then passed on to Hartmann who faked and dribbled inside for a left-footed shot which trickled into goal giving global a 2-0 cushion.

The Bacolod-based squad almost pulled one back on the counter in the 33rd when Maranon floated a pass towards a rushing Adrian Gallardo but his header was over the bar. Minutes later, Manny Ott took a shot from the edge of the box but Deyto was there for the save. Both teams had equal chances till the halftime whistle but the score stood at 2-0 for Global

Global had a good chance in the start of the second half when Omid Nazari cut through the defense and took a shot from the edge but Casas was there for the save. Ceres had controlled most of the possession but Global’s defense was on point.

Controversy occurred in the 56th minute when a pint-blank header by Reichelt went straight to Daisuke Sato’s arm but referee Clifford Daypuyat and his assistant did not call for the clear penalty. The Ceres players and bench were livid to the denied goal-scoring opportunity and Global was quick to take advantage with Misagh getting past two defenders on the counter and slotting the ball to the left making it 3-0 for Global.

The restart was delayed by a while after the Ceres Coach Ali Go and Team Manager James Dinsay were heavily complaining to the officials about the incident which eventually led to their sending off.

Ceres pushed for a goal, winning possession, which led to corners and long throws from specialist Jason Sabio. They eventually got a goal back from a corner when Sang Min nodded the ball back towards Nate Burkey who glanced the header towards the top corner in the 69th minute.

Gallardo had a run moment later towards the goal but the Global defense were there to snuff out the chance, Stephan Shrock came in in the 77th minute to add more pressure in the attack. Global almost had another goal in the 85th after when Hikaru Minigeshi ran the counter laying off to Arthur Kouassi but his shot was saved by Casas.

A shot in the middle by Gallardo in the 90th was deflected towards the goal line but the ensuing corner was punched out by Deyto. Substitute Orman Okunaiya had a teasing ball towards the dangerous area in injury time but the keeper was there to deny.

Global had one more chance to score but Nazari’s curling attempt to the top corner was wide. Jalsor Soriano and Marwin Angeles came on in the final minutes but the Global defense held scoring the 3-1 win making them winners of this years cup and booking a slot to next years AFC Cup.

Ceres battled a fresh Global side who had ten whole days to prepare for the match. “It was a good game. I think our players gave everything they had. I thought they can recover from the Tampines game, but from the (cup final) game I think they’re not one hundred percent. They gave everything, they gave their heart to the game,” said Ceres Coach Ali Go.

“With a 2-0 score in the first half, I think we had a game plan in the second. We needed to score one goal and then its game on. I think we did good in the first part, and that we deserved that penalty. All-in-all it was  really a bad call for us and they went for a counter and scored.  But I think Global played well, they were more hungry and I think our players gave 100 percent but the condition was not there. Rest assured well give our one hundred percent in the (UFL) league so that we’ll be back in the AFC Cup next year,” he added.

The UFL league is tentatively scheduled to start on April 23 barring any changes in the schedule by league officials.  Ceres will now take some rest and prepare for their AFC Cup match against Selangor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 26.

All photos from the United Football League (www.uflph.com)