UFL: Stallion drops Sparks, Archers overcome Nomads with late Chieffy goal

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

Recaps of Tuesday's Div 1 games in Emperador Stadium.

Stallion Sta. Lucia 4, Loyola Meralco Sparks 2.

Stallion are atop the league table after a gutsy come-from-behind win against Loyola.

Rufo Sanchez struck twice, Lee Joo Young added another, and substitute Nathan Alquiros put some late gloss on the scoreline with a goal of his own.

Phil Younghusband and Matt Hartmann scored for Loyola.

It was an open, end-to-end match that was one of the most entertaining matchups of the season.

The Sparks opened their account at the half-hour mark when Phil Younghusband exploited a bad giveaway by the Stallion defense in front of the box and coolly finished past goalie Guilherme Hasegawa.

Six minutes later Chad Gould was whistled for a foul outside the box and in the ensuing free kick, Lee Won Hyung knocked it off the post towards Sanchez, who powered it in for the equalizer.

Just two minutes later, Matt Hartmann slotted home off a superb pass from Jeong Byeong-yeol to put Meralco up 2-1.

The lead would not last.

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At the half Sparks coach Vince Santos relieved wingback Roxy Dorlas for PJ Fadrigalan, while Stallions replaced Hasegawa with regular starter Wilson Muñoz. Stallion goalkeeper's coach Jess Sazon said that Muñoz had a slightly tweaked knee, hence Hasegawa was getting his second start, only to be subbed.

In the 53rd minute Lee Joo Young skated in unperturbed through the heart of the Meralco defense and finished clinically into the low right corner for 2-2.

Just three minutes later a shell-shocked Loyola was down 3-2 after Rufo poked in from close range after a classy outside-of-the-boot pass from Hector Zaghi.

Loyola fought back but just after the hour mark both Matt Hartmann and Jeong let great opportunities go to waste by spraying shots over the bar.

Angelo Verheye was brought in for defender Rodrigue Nembot as Meralco pressed for the equalizer.

Meanwhile Stallion also rued missed chances, as Lee Joo Young and Rufo misfired.

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Just before time Bervic Italia, the Stallion right back, was sent off for a second yellow card. With the fourth official signaling eight minutes of stoppage time and with a man advantage, Meralco surely liked their chances of leveling.

But in the 97th minute Alquiros volleyed home after Ref Cuaresma flapped at a cross, sealing the three points for Stallion.

Moments later, James Younghusband was ejected for a second yellow.

“I felt the referee didn't get a hold of the game” said Stallion's Jeremy Hohn. “But it was a good game for the people (audience.)”

Stallion now leads the league standings at 24 points. Global (22 points) has a game in hand and will retake the top spot with a win over Kaya on Thursday. Meralco remains in third place with 20 points.

OTHER NOTES: After the game a Sparks player could loudly be heard venting his frustration at his team, remarking “there's not enough passion” and bemoaning his club's lack of covering “simple basics” of the game..... Dorlas complained bitterly that he was elbowed twice by Lee Joo Young, causing a cut on his tongue..... Gould told referee Jimmy Liman after the game that on the free kick call on Stallion's first goal, his eyes were on the ball the whole time when he barged into a Stallion, meaning it could not have been a foul. “I told him, as a friend, watch the play on TV.”.... Stallion unveiled another kit, a simple black and white ensemble..... Stallion were without Ruben Doctora, who is nursing an injury..... New Stallion Diego Barrera came into the game for Joven Bedic and nearly scored again. Fortunately this time he had his number 87 on his shirt, unlike the previous game, when he was allowed to play with a numberless jersey.

Caligdong's Archer pose after scoring. UNAUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright …

Green Archers United Globe 2, Nomads Manila 1.

Chieffy Caligdong, the country's master of late game-winning heroics, has done it again.

Deep into injury time with the score knotted at one-all, Arnie Pasinabo of the Archers blasted a fierce strike at Nomads keeper Friso Klok.

The Dutchman stopped the attempt, but the rebound fell to Caligdong, and he knocked the ball in for a dramatic late winner.

“In-anticipate ko na may follow-up” said the Azkal winger.

The goal ruined a potential Man of the Match performance from Klok, who was magnificent in making saves and timing his forays out of the area with aplomb.

It's the Archers' first win of the season against a team ranked higher than them in the standings, and it was thoroughly well-deserved. Their speed gave Nomads fits all game, and they outshot their opponents by a good margin.

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United are still eighth place in the table with seven points, but they enjoy a cushion from the relegation zone occupied by Army and Air Force. Nomads are in sixth with eleven points.

Archers started with new acquisition Boiboi Fernandez at right back. The Victorias, Negros Occidental native won two UAAP titles with UP and played in the 2011 SEA Games team.

Caligdong got the scoring going in the 40th with a deflected shot that looped over Klok.

Immediately after, United turned the screws in search of a second, but Klok turned away a brilliant long-range curler from Jovanie Simpron, then repulsed two attempts by Jonjon Melliza before the half.

Three minutes into the second half Nomads were level after Fidelis Nnabuife, off a whiffed clearance by Jake Hugo, unspooled a piledriver of a shot that bounced off the underbelly of the crossbar and in for a goal.

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Seven minutes later Pasinabo came in to spell Pasilan, and he tried a long-range shot that went high.

Klok made a sensational double save in the 81st minute, first on Dodong Villareal and then on Pasinabo, as United siezed the initiative against a tiring Nomads squad.

The game looked to be drawn until a bit of Chieffy Caligdong magic gave the win to the Archers.

OTHER NOTES: Archers technical director Hans Smit reported that a cameraman had been struck by a rock thrown from outside the premises at the Empy, and that another cameraman was almost hit again on Tuesday. The incident prompted the AKTV to remove the camera from the northeast corner of the field. Smit believes that proper netting will solve this problem, as well as keep balls from getting lost.... On the very last play of the game Klok went all the way to the opposite penalty box for a corner kick. Unfortunately the kick went nowhere near the towering Dutchman, and the game was over moments later.... With Fernandez, Green Archers has the distinction of being the only UFL team to field three UAAP players from last season from three different UAAP teams; Fernandez from UP, Melliza from FEU, and Patrick Deyto from DLSU.

Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg@yahoo.com

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