DEFENDING champion Global leaned on a late conversion to survive a gritty Philippine Air Force side, 2-0, on Thursday night and retain its place atop the standings of the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Encountering a tough challenge from the former champions, Global needed two second-half goals from Jeffrey Christiaens and Delon Patrick Yao to escape with the victory, their sixth straight for 18 points, which kept them ahead of the day’s earlier winner Stallion on goal difference.
Despite playing best game this season, the Airmen remained winless in five games and at the bottom of the 10-team field.
Showing steely resolve, the Airmen frustrated the defending champions and kept them scoreless for most part of the game until Christiaens finally unlocked the defense with a header inside the box off a cross from Patrick Reichelt from the left flank.
Yao, unmarked near the left edge of the box, added an insurance goal minutes later when his intended cross found the back of the net to the surprise of the Airmen’s substitute goalkeeper.
“It’s one of those games. They made it difficult for us,” said Global coach Brian Reid, who then rued the Airmen’s alleged diving antics.
“It’s probably the least enjoyable game I’ve had since I came in. Hopefully there’s nothing anymore like that because it’s not good for the game of football, not just the antics, but other stuff as well,” said the Scottish mentor.
Reid was reunited with former player Jason de Jong, who suited up in his first game since being loaned from Stallion.
“With the Armed Forces, it will always be a hard game,” De Jong said. “They always play their heart out and they always try to intimidate you. That’s a part of their game. That’s okay.”
“We have to be professional and deal with it. And that’s what we did,” added the prolific defensive midfielder.