UFL: Pasargad comes back to beat Archers, plus Air Force – Army preview

Promise Jolomi celebrates his winner. UNAUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL USE OF THIS IMAGE IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Image copyright …

Promise was fulfilled very quickly on Saturday night in The Emperador stadium.

Promise Jolomi's 87th minute strike gave Pasargad their first win of the season, a come-from-behind 2-1 victory that brings them to four points for the season. Incredibly, it was the young Nigerian's first touch of the match after coming on just seconds earlier.

Archers left back Ronnie Aguisanda misjudged a long, high clearance, and it landed behind him near center back Elvin Marcellana.

Both of United's defenders hesitated, and Jolomi pounced, driving it past keeper Patrick Deyto. Marcellana had gone on the park minutes before in relief of Lawrence Obinna.

“I just told him (Jolomi) to take shots once he gets the ball and not dribble too much, which is what he usually does” said PSG coach Essie Sedigh.

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Jolomi came on for new signing, former Azkal Yannick Tuason, late of Kaya. Another former Azkal, William Guerridon, also started for Sedigh.

Green Archers United Globe did not start Chieffy Caligdong, who supposedly was late for a team activity.

The Archers took the lead in the 26th minute when Jonjon Melliza unleashed a left-footed shot that squirreled past PSG goalie Reza Ataei's grasp.

United did have the run of the play in the first half but Deyto showed his class with two magnificent stops before the halftime whistle, one a diving save on Emmanuel Mbata and another a tip-over of Jahambakhsh Taher's wicked long-range effort.

The tide turned in the second half as the SMART PFF National championship runners-up siezed the initiative.

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In the 56th minute Pasargad leveled when new player Belinga Blanchard threaded a great pass to Mbata that he poked past Deyto.

Near the hour mark Caligdong was inserted for Shag Shapay Johnson. Seven minutes he unspooled an excellent free kick that was well shepherded over the bar by Ataei.

Six minutes before time Taher might have scored but his well-taken free kick was anticipated and caught by Deyto.

A minute later Melliza nearly notched a winner but his shot, off a pass from substitute Sean Lee, fluttered wide.

But just 120 seconds later Jolomi had completed the comeback with his dramatic winner.

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Both PSG and GAU are now at four points but in spite of the loss the Archers are still ahead of their rivals via goal difference.

Pasargad next plays a depleted Kaya squad on Thursday on the eve of the Azkals' game against Brunei. Chris Greatwich and OJ Porteria will be unavailable because of Azkals duty and Dario Dakic will be suspended because of his role in a bench-clearing melee against Green Archers last month.

OTHER NOTES: I watched the game beside Aussie David Perkovic, Kaya coach. He is surprised that the league suspends you for three accumulated yellow cards. In Australia the top-tier A-league metes out a suspension after five. He also believes that a lifetime ban is in order for Army's Rodrigo Betita, because that is what a lot of other leagues would mete out in that situation.... Sedigh says there is no truth to the report that Kale Alvarez will coach PSG. The Iranian was as surprised as anyone to read about it on the UFL site.... There was once again a short moment of silent prayer for Team Socceroo manager Wool Reyes before kickoff. Reyes has been felled by what appears to be an aneurysm and if fighting for his life in St. Lukes in a comatose state. Family and friends have organized a fundraiser on Monday in Bond Urban Pub. There will be several Djs spinning including Archer Pat Bocobo. Please attend, there will be a P350 entrance charge. Doors open at five pm. Learn more on the Facebook event page here. ... The first support of the Empy's grandstand roof has been erected. Still no word on when the stand itself will be open.

Grandstand at the Empy. Image copyright Bob Guerrero.

Army- Air Force preview.

I watched the PSG-GAU game near Kaya's Jonahan Romero. The Guamanian asked me “do those guys (Army and Air Force) go at it against each other the way they go for us?”

I answered that they probably play each other even rougher than they do other teams.

“Ooh I gotta watch that” he replied.

The game he speaks about takes place on Monday at 7:30 p.m. The UFL Division 1's bottom teams will square off in a must-win relegation battle at the Empy. The match will not be televised.

Army has amassed just one point from a draw with Green Archers.

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All of Air Force's opponents have taken the full three points from their five games and are rooted to the bottom of the standings.

Army will be missing defender Rodrigo Betita, who has been suspended for six months for kicking assistant referee Ronaldo Yurag last Tuesday in the military team's 3-0 loss to Kaya.

Air Force is without the services of keeper Ken Dolloso, who was red carded during the Airmen's heroic 2-0 loss to Global where they kept the game scoreless for 85 minutes.

I hope that Pinoy Football fans warm to the drama of the Relegation Battle. In this year's UFL the bottom team will drop down to Division Two while the second-worst team goes into a two-legged playoff with the second-tier's second placer to determine who goes up and down.

In Europe, where relegated teams often lose millions in TV revenues when they get bumped down a grade, these battles are great theater. It should be no different in this relegation race, where PSG and Green Archers are still in danger.

The teams are a study in contrasts: Army is aging but proud, Air Force callow but quick.

Both lineups are littered with Ilonggo players, and there should be no shortage of rough tackles and Hiligaynon trash-talking between the players, many of whom know each other very well.

The golden age of military Football may have started to fade, but for one evening, twenty-two proud home-grown Pinoys will duke it out with plenty at stake.

As the Eagles once sang “Somebody's gonna hurt someone before the night is through. Somebody's gonna come undone, there's nothing we can do.”

Watch for it on Monday.

Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.