GREEN Archers United banked on a late offensive outburst to stun Philippine Air Force, 4-2, and create a little more distance from the relegation zone in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig on Thursday night.
Seemingly on the verge of defeat, the Archers suddenly came alive with nine minutes before stoppage time, when they drew a goal apiece from Agbayomi Olowoyeye, Arnie Pasinabo Jr., and Jes Melliza to turn the game around. The Archers now have 11 points, five points ahead of the ninth-running Airmen, who remained in danger of getting demoted to Division 2.
“We have to accept that yung mga teams sa taas talagang malakas. Yung goal namin is fifth or sixth place. Pero malaking panalo sa amin ’to,” Archers coach Rodolfo Alicante said.
The Archers actually held a one-goal lead after Chieffy Caligdong converted a penalty kick 31 minutes into the game that was awarded after Melliza was fouled near the box.
Three minutes later, however, Ian Araneta found the back of the net, before converting his own penalty kick early in the second half to turn the game into the Airmen’s favor.
Air Force, though, failed to seal the game and grab a golden opportunity to overtake the Archers in the standings as it suffered a late meltdown.
Pasinabo knotted the count in the 81st minute with a close-range shot that went between the legs of goalkeeper Ken Dolloso. Olowoyeye, who came in for skipper Tating Pasilan, scored the go-ahead goal three minutes later.
Melliza, the Far Eastern University star, added an insurance goal a minute into stoppage time.
“Nag-change ako ng strategy sa second half. Nagpalit ako ng offensive players so yun ang nag-change ng game,” Alicante said.
Without Patrick Deyto, who is on vacation in Australia, the Archers also had a new starting goalkeeper in Ivan Fraire, who was replaced by Ronnie Aguisanda in the second half.