MANILA, Philippines – Loyola Meralco Sparks FC gave national club champs Ceres FC a bitter pill after snatching a tight 1-0 win to take the lead in Group B of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday, January 24.
Upon the start of the heated affair, Ceres FC pushed the pedal to the metal to score another win for their club, sending a flurry of shots that were all swatted away by Loyola’s newly acquired shot stopper Tomas Trigo.
To the delight of the fans of the Sparks, topnotch striker Phil Younghusband found an opening in the pesky defense of the Bacolod-based kickers off a pass from Matthew Hartmann to tally the only goal of the match.
Nothing was going Ceres's way as their force was depleted to just 10 men after 32 minutes of play as Arnie Pasinabo was sent off the pitch following a red card due to a foul on Loyola’s Eddie Mallari.
The reigning kings of Philippine club football exhausted all their resources to hit a goal of their own and salvage the game into a draw but their efforts were wasted as they failed to convert goals.
During the first match of the day, Kaya FC overpowered Laos FC with a 6-0 drubbing to take their first three points in the competition.
Meanwhile, Loyola FC now sits on top of their group with 6 points while Kaya FC and Ceres FC are tied with three points each but the former has a plus 5 goal advantage.
Also, Laos FC still has a lot on their plate being the only team without a win in Group B.
Football action for the group stage of the national championship will continue on Sunday with match between Global FC and Stallion FC at 4pm followed by the clash of the two non-UFL clubs Erco-Bro FC of Cebu and M’lang FC of North Cotabato at 7pm. – Rappler.com