TAGUIG, Philippines - LOYOLA Meralco Sparks captured its first silverware and became the fourth team to become the United Football League Cup Champions after surviving a tough Pachanga Diliman FC side 3-2 in the Finals Game at the Emperador Stadium Thursday evening.
Loyola midfielders Simon Greatwich and Joo Young Lee threatened to claim the early lead in the 5th and 11th minute, however was both saved by the outstretched arms of Pachanga keeper Kim Versales. Pachanga captain Ariel Zerrudo surprised the Sparks' backline as he was left wide open and converted a shot inside the box in the 16th minute for the 1-nil lead.
Pachanga Diliman lead did not last long as James Younghusband's 18th minute header from a free kick over a crowded penalty box leveled the game 1-1. Loyola forward Chad Gould delivered the go ahead goal past the 45th minute to put the Sparks in a comfortable lead 2-1 at the halftime.
Phil Younghusband led an attack at the left flank and beat the Pachanga backline as his shot double the lead 3-1 in the 52nd minute before Ariel Zerrudo returned the favor a minute later with an emphatic strike over the Spark's open defense for his second goal in the match to cut the lead back to one. Pachanga created three offensive chances late in the game to even up the match and to force an extension however they failed to convert.
In the Battle for Third Place, Chieffy Caligdong scored a pair of goals in the 51st and 57th minute as Green Archers United FC beat Philippine Air Force (PAF) FC 3-nil. Nicolas Leonora of PAF scored his own goal in just nine minutes from kick off.
Individual Awards were also given before the formal awarding ceremonies to the new Cup Champions. Phil Younghusband bagged the Golden Boot (Top Scorer) and Golden Ball (MVP) awards. Goalkeeper and teammate Baba Sampana was the best Goalkeeper (Golden Gloves). and the Fair Play Award was given to Global FC. JJB
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