MANILA, Philippines – Global earned a 1-1 draw against the Loyola Meralco Sparks, just enough to win its first league title in Division I in the United Football League before a big crowd tonight at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Global ended up tied with Kaya after 18 matches with 42 points each but won due to superior goal difference, 32-13, to finally nail the title that eluded them last season.
Izzo El Habbib broke through with a header in the 65th minute to give Global the crown.
Korean Il Hyo Kim of the Sparks provided some drama and opened the door for Kaya to steal the title away from Global when he flicked in a goal 11 minutes later.
The marginal goal, however, did not come for the Sparks as Global wasted the remaining time and finally lifted the trophy that it nearly won last year.
With the pressure to either win or get a draw, Global appeared tight at the onset of the match as Loyola controlled the tempo.
The Sparks' aggressiveness was rewarded when Mark Hartmann scored but was ruled out when Davide Cortina was caught offside on top of the second half.
Last season, Global was on its way to a breakthrough league title after winning the cup until it yielded the trophy to vanquished champion Philippine Air Force in the end.
Carli de Murga won the Golden Ball award while Phil Younghusband got away with the Golden Boot award after leading the league with 23 goals but failed to score in the club's last three matches to fall from the title race.
Saba Garmaroudi of Kaya won the Golden Gloves award.
Second division champion Pachanga, who will go up in Division I next season, got the lion's share of individual awards led by former national team striker Freddie Gonzales, who took home both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards in the second division.
The Sparks ended up third with 37 points.