Kaya and Pachanga drew 1-1 on Saturday. PLDT Home Fibr drew first blood in the second half with a neat strike from the flank from new signing Shayan Jafaridastjerdi. It was negated by Miguel Tanton’s header with under twenty minutes to go.
PLDT Home Fibr have the best offside trap in the league. San Beda’s Raffy Cabug joined the back four at right back, and with Deo Segunial out with a groin pull, Jed Rances partnered Andrew Santiago in the center of the D with Nathan Octavio manning the left flank.
The changes didn’t matter as Noel Marcaida’s defenders played as if there was an invisible rope guiding all of them forward at the same time, leaving Kaya’s strikers bewildered and stranded in offside positions all night. Had the assistant referees used five-pound dumbbells instead of flags they would’ve had Popeye arms by the final whistle.
The tactic worked in the first half but wasn’t quite as effective in the second, when Kaya ran at the Pachanga high line and very nearly broke through a few times.
Referee Ariel Montaña did wave off a Kenshiro Daniels strike for Kaya in the first half, which Kaya coach David Perkovic felt was onside because Daniels made his run in front of a defender. That and a few other missed calls and offsides infuriated the Aussie coach, who stormed out to the pitch and confronted Montaña after the final whistle and had some choice words for him along with a pointed finger.
I asked Coach Dave if what he said to the ref was for public consumption.
“Frankly, I don’t give a shit” was his reply. Then came the vitriol.
“I am sick and tired of hopeless refereeing. It’s absurd. It’s lacking in common sense. I don’t even think the refs see from where the ball is played on the offside calls. It’s unbelievable!”
I asked him if the refereeing in the grade school level in Australia is better than it is here.
“Even the Under-6 level (officiating) is better” he replied immediately.
Perkovic wasn’t done.
“Something’s got to be done. Who is going to step up and say this is unacceptable? I am sick and tired of the outcomes of games being decided by the referees. Today was disgusting refereeing.”
On some other notes, Tanton’s goal was off an Anton Del Rosario long throw. I am mystified why more teams don’t develop long throwers in this narrow Empy field.
Manu Saubach started over Nick O’Donnell in goal for Kaya. Saubach last played in the league for Pachanga in the 2012 Cup. The Fil- Austrian, who last played in the German 5th tier, did well against his old club, tipping a venomous shot by Sim Hong Bo on to the crossbar. Saubach is 22, has a Filipino passport, and is a giant. At least 6’4″. I say he easily introduces himself into the Azkals goalie conversation.
Kudos for PLDT Home Fibr for bringing in fresh new Pinoy homegrown blood into the league. Aside from Cabug, Paolo Salenga of NU got a late run out. Daniel Gadia, Jinggoy Valmayor, Dingdong Fornea, Jaime Mulliken, and Patxi Santos also dressed but didn’t play.
In the other game, GAU picked up a vital 3-1 win over Pasargad. Dodong Villareal struck twice in the second half after coach Dolfo Alicante moved him forward. Earlier in the game, Gelo Diamante found the net for the Archers and Jerome Cuyos scored for Ayi Aryee Nii’s side.
The more I see Villareal, the more I think he deserves an Azkals call-up. The Dumaguete native is a natural striker converted to wingback. He is international size, quick, strong, and loves to go forward. Aged 27, he is stepping into his peak. Thomas Dooley can certainly use someone like him as a bomb-down-the-field-on-overlaps wingback in a 4-2-3-1.
GAU does need to talk more. There is not enough communication, especially in the back. Alicante says he is still waiting for a leader to emerge.
But the win puts United at 13 points, probably clear of the relegation zone. It’s a big win. They are now level with Army.
The desultory season continues for Pasargad. They are chained to the bottom of the standings with four points. They mostly played unattractive, disjointed Football on Saturday. It’s so desperate for the squad that Nii is even mulling trading in his coach’s clipboard for cleats so he can play again. But that is unlikely, says the Ghanaian, since he is taking his B license exam in mid-May. Essie Sedigh may take over, or new assistant coach Benjie Farhad, an Iranian-Croatian Pocket Billiards referee who officiated in the Women’s World Ten Ball Championship last year. Yes, this is all true, I can’t make it up.
Farhad bemoans his team’s lack of fitness. Nii says they need to shore up the defense before the end of the window. Left back Romnick Echin was basically burned to a crisp by Villareal.
The saving grace for Pasargad is they have two games in hand on 8th place Socceroo, who are at nine points.
SHAMELESS PLUG: I have a Football-oke fundraising sing-along gig in Azkals Sports Bar on Tuesday night. It’s for Dumaguete Football Club. The fun starts at 8pm. Come one , come all, lets sing badly for youth Football in the provinces! FB page is here.