Stallion Sta. Lucia 3, Pachanga-Diliman 1.
Stallion stayed perfect with a stylish victory against a struggling PD squad.
Lee Joo Young, Balot Doctora, and Rufo Sanchez tallied for Stallion, who move to a full 18 points after six games along with Global. Global still leads via goal difference.
PD are stuck on six points from two wins and suffered a blow when, just before the half, striker Ariel Zerrudo, who was not even in the game , was shown a red card by referee Michael Barajas after apparently exchanging harsh words with an assistant referee.
That prompted a furious reaction from PD owner John Gutierrez, who was also ejected.
“You have a racist linesman there” said Gutierrez afterwards. “I reported him already before.”
Gutierrez alleges that one of the assistant referees, Christian Deck Pacana, was making racist comments to one of the PD players.
At that point in the match, PD had Ivorian Yves Ashime and Ghanaian Ernest Appiah on the pitch.
Referee Assessor Jerry Andres did not allow Pacana to be interviewed after the game since according to him, FIFA rules forbid media from speaking to game officials post-game.
Zerrudo informed this reporter that he would explain what happened at a later date. When asked about the incident after the game, Appiah noted that it was a verbal altercation between Pacana and Zerrudo but did not mention any racism.
Stallion opened the scoring at the half hour mark when Sanchez found possession near the edge of the box and attracted a crowd of PD defenders.
He spotted Lee wide open and dished off to him. The Korean then powered past PD keeper Jerome Leung.
Leung, who is in the Azkals training pool, was playing for regular custodian Kim Versales, who got redcarded in PD's last game versus Global.
Nine minutes later Stallion doubled the advantage by exploiting some naïve defending when Doctora collected a pass from Lee Won Hyung and volleyed home.
At the half Pachanga Diliman coach Bob Salvacion brought in Mohammad Jahanarai and Ousseynou Diop for Andrew Santiago and Nathan Octavio. Soon after new Iranian signing Alireza Jamali joined the fray.
Jamali came close twice soon after the hour mark while Leung foiled Lee Joo Young and Stallion sub Shirmar Felongco.
Felongco, from UST and Calinog, Iloilo, was a threat in the second half with his pace on the right flank.
In the 71st PD pulled a goal back when Jason Cunliffe hoofed a free kick past Stallion goalie Wilson Munoz.
Cunliffe had a very influential return to Pachanga. He and fellow Guamanian Ian Mariano started after coming back from AFC Challenge Cup duty for their country, where they did win one game, 3-0 against Chinese Taipei.
But eight minutes from time Rufo Sanchez settled matters with a missile from outside the box for 3-1.
Oddly, Salvacion relieved Leung shortly before time for third-string keeper Stephen Custodio.
Global 2, Air Force 0
The Airmen were five minutes away from completing the shock result of the league until they finally succumbed to the might of the defending champs.
Jeffrey Christiaens' 86th minute goal broke a goalless deadlock to the relief of Global fans. Five minutes later Delon Patrick Yao made the scoreline flatter Air Force a bit less by lobbing over reserve keeper Louie Sobrevega for 2-0.
Going into the game without a point from any of their matches, Air Force defended heroically in a compact 4-5-1 formation with Ian Araneta and sometimes Vince Braga operating as the lone striker.
Air Force tweaked their defense once again, putting Nicholas Leonora at left back and shifting his brother Neckson to centerback alongside veteran Martin Doctora. Rodolfo Bebanco started at right back.
That backline bent but didn't break for 85 minutes.
Global started Jason De Jong at holding mid. The Azkal was recently acquired from Stallion on loan.
Carli De Murga nearly scored for Global twice in the first thirty minutes as his team poured on the pressure, with right back Jerry Barbaso making numerous runs upfield.
Ben Starosta nearly headed in the opener in the 32nd minute but keeper Ken Dolloso tipped his shot over the bar.
In a rare foray towards the Global goal, Ansing Gustilo brilliantly controlled the ball, outfoxed some defenders and unspooled a throughball just before the halftime whistle that Roland Dely Sadia commanded.
Izo Elhabbib, who celebrated his 26th birthday, was unable to get on the scoresheet and was subbed at the half for Patrick Reichelt.
In the 62nd minute Ian Araneta nearly scored against the run of play with a powerful shot off a breakaway that Sadia palmed over the frame of the goal.
With a poor result looming, De Murga and, Delon Patrick Yao, and Angge Tressor Guisso could be seen barking at each other in frustration.
In the 71st minute De Murga's quickly taken free kick goal was waved off by referee Allan Martinez because the Azkal did not wait for the Airmen's wall to be constructed. De Murga complained afterwards that he should be allowed to take free kicks quickly.
Moments later Dolloso flailed around injured while grabbing a loose ball and flung the leather past his goal line.
Global thought the Negrense keeper was simulating and at first did not want to fair play the ball back, but eventually Air Force were given control.
Minutes later Misagh Bahadoran headed agonizingly off the post.
Air Force resistance finally ended when substitute Adrian Bretana gave the ball away in the midfield and Global turned it into a break away that Christiaens slotted home.
In the aftermath Dolloso was spotted throwing the ball in frustration at a Global player and was sent off. He will miss Monday's match against Army.
Two Global players appeared to mock Air Force's timewasting tactics by writhing on the turf in ersatz pain after the goal, then quickly standing up and running into position for the restart.
In stoppage time right back Yao saw Sobrevega off the line and from an angle neatly chipped the ball over his head and into the net.
“It was a tough game. It goes to show that every team in this league will be a threat” said Global boss Dan Palami afterwards.”
“At least nag-improve tayo. Yan ang purpose natin” said Air Force coach Bracky Bracamonte afterwards.
OTHER NOTES: Before both games UFL media officer Rick Olivares led everyone in prayer for Team Socceroo's team manager Wool Reyes, who is comatose after apparently being stricken by an aneurysm. One Our Father and one Hail Mary were offered in support of his full recovery. Socceroo are currently atop the standings in Division 2... Dolloso wore an orange shirt that to my eye was a bit too close to the red kits worn by Global.... The first game saw an interesting sight: PD's Anto Gonzales on the pitch against Stallion's Marjo Allado. Gonzales coaches UP in the UAAP while Allado is the mentor of their rivals UST.... PD's Jinggoy Valmayor suffered an ankle injury against Global and did not dress for this game.... Stallion picked up Jovin Bedic during the transfer window from PD, but the young striker did not dress against his old club.... Heartthrob Daniel Matsunaga was a late sub for Stallion, and after the game he and Hector Zagi were mobbed by autograph and picture-seekers....I have been told that next month Bracamonte will take temporary leave of his coaching duties to do Air Force schooling so that he may progress in his military career. The schooling is apparently long overdue because of his commitments to the Air Force team and the Azkals..... I was informed after the game that Neil Etheridge is suspended from the AFC Challenge Cup qualifier game against Brunei. Etheridge was given a red card for verbal abuse from off the pitch during the Azkals 3rd place game win in the 2012 Challenge Cup versus Palestine. I am told that that suspension must be served in an AFC tournament, not in a friendly, hence the suspension....Ian Araneta is organizing a youth Football tournament in his hometown of Barotac Nuevo in late April. He is in need of sponsors and donations, since it is a big event that he hopes will attract teams even from Negros, and he refuses to charge an entry fee. If you would like to donate or sponsor, kindly tweet me or him @ianaraneta23.
Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.