UFL League: Nomads inaugurates Emperador Stadium with 1-0 win over Air Force

James Woldring. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Australian 17-year old James Woldring made history on Saturday by scoring the first UFL league goal in the new Emperador stadium's artificial turf in McKinley Hill, Taguig.

The Nomads attacker faked one way then swiveled around a static Air Force defense to steer a powerful shot with his weaker left foot past Kenneth Dolloso in the 74th minute.

It was good enough for a depleted Nomads to defeat the 2011 league champs on the first day of UFL play at their new home.

Nomads joins Pachanga-Diliman, Stallion, Loyola, and Global in winning their first assignments of the 2013 league.

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The scoreline belies the nature of the game, which was open, attacking, and free-flowing, as both sides seemed to enjoy the new Limonta Sport 60mm turf.

Close up of turf. UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Air Force debuted a passel of new, young players and although they did not get on the scoreboard, the kids did impress.

Right winger Romeo Martinez shot wide five minutes before halftime off a perfect through-ball from Ansing Gustilo. Earlier on left back Rodolfo Bebanco was just high over the crossbar with two chances, one a header.

In the second half veteran Joebel Bermejo headed over the crossbar in the 59th and nine minutes later Antonio Albor was wide from range.

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Gustilo, Martinez, Albor and Braga are all refugees from Stallion.

In his UFL debut, Air Force keeper Kenneth Dolloso was solid, with two stops in the first half and another blank on Nnabuife in the second half.

Nomads got a magnificent performance from centerback Adrien Semblat. The Frenchman, late of Kaya, tidied up all day long in the back line, shielding emergency keeper Phil Connolly.

Connolly, usually a striker, was forced to don the gloves because Friso Klok was unavailable due to a wedding he had to attend, while backup Jeff Blake had work commitments.

Nomads' Fidelis Nnabuife was a threat all game long with attempts on either side of the halftime break.

Air Force mentor Brax Bracamonte inserted Martin Doctora into the game for Neckson Leonora to add some more height but to no avail.

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“I told the guys at the half to stay patient and wait for a chance. It came and we took it” said Nomads coach John Jofre.

“Our game plan was to go wide and down the channels, so my strikers could make diagonal runs. My goalkeeper (Connolly) was outstanding.”

While the game in its entirety was even, Nomads did seem to sieze momentum in the end game, with Nnabuife volleying high in the 76th minute, Steven Borill heading wide two minutes later, and in the 84th, Spanish substitute Luis Infante having a goal disallowed for offside.
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OTHER NOTES: The first scheduled game of the day was the 4pm Division 2 clash between Cebu Queen City and Dolphins. It didn't happen because the Cebuanos never showed up. The Dolphins then split up into two teams and played a scrimmage among themselves. The game will go down as a 3-0 win for Dolphins, according to league Commissioner Bonnie Ladrido.... There was a crowd of a few hundred in the temporary bleachers on a crisp evening. Dark clouds threatened to explode into rain but things stayed dry all throughout the match.... I was told that Emperador Field is 60m wide and 98m long, smaller than the 68m by 105m that is preferred for International matches. There is, however, enough allowance to widen the field by two meters on either side if needed in the future. That would put the width at 64m, which I am told is the minimum for an International game.... The lighting on the field was patchy and uneven, bright in some areas and dark in others. The lights will be adjusted before the Tuesday televised games.... Woldring is a high school senior in International School Manila. After he graduates in a few months he will take a ten-month break before university in Australia, and during that sabbatical he intends to continue playing for Nomads....At the half-hour mark main referee Roel Emnas changed from his dark gray shirt into a purple one. This action was likely prompted by a humorous moment when a Nomad appeared to pass the ball to Emnas. Nomads was wearing a duo-tone gray kit that must have looked similar to Emnas' shirt.... Azkals manager Dan Palami watched the game alongside assistant coach Diding Cabalida. Stallion Ruben Doctora took in the game in the Air Force section of the bleachers.

You can follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.


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