MANILA, Philippines – RIZAL Memorial Football Stadium has written another chapter in its football history as Global FC battle Loyola Meralco Sparks to a draw 1-1 to bag the Division I Championship of the 2011-2012 United Football League Tuesday evening.
Global’s Sudanese striker Izzo El-Habbib and Spark’s Korean midfielder Byeong Yeol Jeong eached scored a goal as Global enlisted themselves as the second champions of the league after former champions Philippine Air Force ruled the first two seasons.
Defense became the battle cry for in the first half as both squads displayed solid defense by marking the offensive options and attacks. The first forty five minutes of action ended with nil-nil.
Loyola threatened to take the lead in the 6th minute as captain James Younghusband’s cross was cleared by Global keeper Jerome Etoundi and Phil Younghusband was there to recover the loose ball, but his shot sailed wide. Global quickly answered in the 13th minute header by Angel Guirado was cleared by the Loyola defense.
Sparks set up an end to end action in the 39th minute starting off with Hartmann’s shot from close range and a counter attack from El-Habbib. Both scoring chances were unsuccessful due to the quick defense by their opponents. Loyola’s Davide Cortina had a chance to put the Sparks’ on top before halftime, but his shot was cleared by Global defender Valentine Kama.
Global right winger Patrick Reichelt established the attack right at the start of second half with an effective display of skill and two perfect crosses to Alex Obiang and El-Habbib but both recipients failed to convert a goal.
Loyola almost stunned Global with a shot by Hartmann in the 53rd minute. However, the goal was nullified as the linesman ruled an offside infraction.
El-Habbib finally broke the silence in the 65th minute as his header bounced to the net unguarded after Loyola keeper Ref Cuaresma was off his position to put Global in the scoreboard 1-nil to the delight of their supporters.
Loyola responded with Jeong’s shot off a free kick from Hartmann to equalize the game 1-1 in the 76th minute.
Global could have a better way to close the game with a winning goal. However, defender David Basa’s header from a cross by skipper Yu Hoshide sailed wide in the 85th minute.
Loyola tried to spoil Global’s title chances come injury time. But the two scoring chances failed to convert.
In the first game, Nate Burkey scored in the 43rd minute as Kaya FC edged out Penson Stallion-Gilligans FC 1-nil to finish second place in the season.
To cap off the season, awards were also given to individuals who showed an impressive performance throughout the season. Global’s Carli de Murga was awarded with the Most Valuable Player; Spark’s Phil Younghusband with the Golden Boot Award, and Kaya shotstopper Saba Gamaroudi bagged the Best Goalkeeper honors. JJB