A depleted Global side banked on a late conversion from Izzo El-Habib to trip Stallion, 1-0, on Tuesday night and claim the solo lead in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Without their seven national team standouts, the defending champions hung tough against their UFL Cup Finals tormentors before finally drawing a second-half goal from their Sudanese striker to emerge as the only unbeaten team in the league.
With their seventh straight win, Global now has 21 points. The Stallions, on the other hand, lost for the first time in seven games to drop to third place behind early winner Loyola Meralco.
Despite missing the services of Marwin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Jeffrey Christiaens, Carli de Murga, Patrick Reichelt, Matthew Uy, and loaned Stallion booter Jason de Jong, who were out to focus on Azkals duty, Global stayed toe to toe with their opponents and kept them scoreless throughout the game.
Global’s efforts were finally rewarded as El-Habib struck with a header off a right corner kick from Japanese skipper Yu Hoshide.
“It’s the sweetest victory yet because of the circumstances that were against us tonight,” Global coach Brian Reid said. “With a patched-up squad, the level of commitment and the faith the players showed is outstanding.”
“In the first half, I felt we hadn’t played anywhere near as good as we can, but we played better in the second half. It was a great finish from Izzo and a great delivery,” the Scottish coach added.