Global's Azkal-studded lineup will have its stiffest test on Monday when it goes for a UFL League and Cup double against Penson Stallion in Rizal Memorial Football Field.
If Global were to come out on top, it would match the achievement of Philippine Air Force, who won both the 2011 UFL League and Cup competitions.
This match was supposed to have been played on November 19 but was pushed back to allow the Azkals to prepare properly for the Suzuki Cup.
Patrick Reichelt, Demit Omphroy, Misagh Bahadoran, Carlie De Murga, Marwin Angeles, Marvin Angeles, and Juani Guirado are the Azkals that suit up for Global while Jason De Jong plays for Stallion.
Global reached the final after defeating Loyola Meralco 2-1 in their semis without almost all their Azkals, since they were in Cebu training for the November 15 friendly with Singapore. Stallion needed extra time to defeat Green Archers United Globe 3-1 in their semifinal.
Dan Palami's team is surely favored for the final, since their squad is bristling with offensive talent. Izo Elhabbib and Alex Obiang are both serial goalscorers who both found the back of the net in the semis. Elhabbib has seven goals in the Cup while Obiang has scored six.
Reichelt adds speed from the wing, while Demit Omphroy, who is finally healthy, can attack all the way from right back.
The quiet leader of team is Yu Hoshide. The Japanese veteran orchestrates a midfield and helps out a defense that has let in just three goals in the entire cup.
Stallion will have two players suspended; centerback Nam Yeul Woo and midfielder Antonio "Bulldog" Albor. Global's Delon Yao is also out because of accumulated yellows.
Jason De Jong tells me that he will take over Albor's spot in holding mid while Barotacnon Jake Hugo will replace Nam alongside Stallion's Spanish central defender, Joaco Canas.
The game could swing on whether Hugo can take the heat from the Global attack. Hugo hasn't been starting much with Nam in the mix.
Stallion will need the firepower of Rufo Sanchez and Balot Doctora up top. Doctora scored twice in the semifinal to up his Cup goal tally to four. Sanchez was unable to find the net against Archers. On Monday he will need to prove his worth with a performance like the one he displayed against Sta. Lucia, when he scored five times in one game.
Lee Joo Young is one of the many skilled Koreans on the Stallion lineup who can create from the center of the park.
Jovanie Simpron can come off the bench for fresh legs. Simpron came within a whisker of scoring late in the semifinal, but his curling right-footed strike was just high.
The last time the teams met was during the UFL League in June , when Global came out on top 3-1 thanks to two goals from Izo Elhabbib and another from Obiang. It was an ill-tempered clash with team officials from both clubs being ejected.
Global used a physical midfield presence to knock Stallion off their fluid passing game, which can be the prettiest in the league. Expect the same tactics on Monday from Palami.
In last year's Cup these two clubs met in the group stage, with Stallion, fielding an all-Ilonggo lineup, prevailing 3-2. The most memorable of those goals was Ansing Gustilo's cheeky half-line bomb that was just above the hands of Global's keeper Paolo Pascual, and just under the crossbar.
On Monday Ivorian Roland Dely Sadia will don the gloves. Pascual, recently recovered from injury will be his understudy.
Stallion led 3-0 before Global mounted a furious comeback to pull to within one. Global thought they had equalized near the end but their 3rd goal was disallowed for offside.
This is more than just a game between two teams. It is a match that symbolizes the changing landscape of Philippine Football. One one team are arrayed top Fil-foreigner Azkals. On the other, proud Ilonggos like Doctora, Hugo, defender Bervic Italia, and goalie Wilson Munoz. The teams contrast each other brilliantly, and that should make for an entertaining and close contest.
Watch the 2012 UFL Cup Final live at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium at 7 pm. Admission is free, and the final will be preceded by the third-place game between Loyola and Archers. Live TV coverage for both games will be on AKTV.
Because of a scheduling conflict I cannot watch the game live and am not sure if I can even catch it on TV. But the Yahoo! Sports staff will provide you with a match report.