This one’s gonna hurt.
For the first time since Loyola became Loyola Meralco Sparks, the Green Archers have defeated them, 2-1 last Saturday night in Emperador.
Global can now overtake the Sparks on Tuesday if Leigh Manson’s troops can defeat Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr.
Of course, since this is the UFL, there was a refereeing controversy.
Lee Joo Young gave Loyola the lead early in the second half. It began when Spark PJ Fadrigalan stormed down the right flank near the goal line. He was shadowed by a fellow Lagunan, (I guess that’s what they call guys from Laguna, right?) Arvin Soliman of GAU.
In a battle between Santa Cruz and Los Baños, Santa Cruz won when Fadrigalan unspooled a terrific center to Lee, who deposited his ground ball shot into the low right corner past Pat Deyto.
But midway through the second half Fadrigalan, who had already smacked Tating Pasilan on the face inadvertently just moments earlier, recklessly struck Pasilan again. The gentleman from San Carlos was not appreciative of the slug and reciprocated with a wild punch. Referee Ariel Montaña gave a red card to Fadrigalan and a yellow 3-by-2 to Pasilan. When I saw the play, I thought it should have gone the other way, with Pasilan getting the red card.
GAU coach Dolfo Alicante afterwards said both men should have been tossed.
At any rate the call was a game-changer. Six minutes from time GAU leveled when Robert Lopez-Mendy blasted home off a Jhan Jhan Melliza assist thanks to some iffy defending.
Then in stoppage time Melliza streaked down the left flank and beat Baba Sampana for an improbable winner. Once again the Sparks D was caught napping.
In a sense the call from Montaña was only justice, since GAU has been the victim of some truly wretched calls this season. But try telling that to a Sparks fan.
Dodong Villareal continued to shine, with another audacious run down the throat of the Spark D in the first half. The GAU right back also gave Matt Hartmann fits in their game long battle in the flank.
GAU solidifies its hold on fifth place. Loyola has seen its once massive lead in the standings dwindle to one solitary point. A subpar effort from the midfield was one of the many culprits.
It’s time for Loyola to circle the wagons and regain that winning vibe. True, the red card on PJ was massive, but they can’t just blame the refs for dropping all three points in this match.
In the other game, Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr drew 1-1 with Stallion. Ariel Zerrudo scored Pachanga’s only goal, latching on to a long clearance from Kim Versales and heading past Stallion keeper Kuloy Muñoz, who drove his boot into Zerrudo’s breadbasket in the goal, a la Nigel de Jong in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final. The collision winded Zerrudo so bad he had to be subbed.
How bad was the impact? Here is the photographic evidence. Zerrudo will have to wait if he wants to be a Men’s Health cover model, since his abs have been rather gashed. Game of him to offer a smile.