PACHANGA-Diliman pounced on a short-handed Philippine Army side, scoring a come-from-behind 3-2 victory on Saturday night to end its first-round campaign on a bright note in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Orphaned by prolific striker Ali Jamali, who abruptlyleft for his native Iran due to personal reasons, the 2012 Division 2 titlists remained abundant in terms of scoring options especially in the second half, when they turned the game around after the Troopers went a man down following the ejection of skipper Roel Gener.
Substitutes Ian Mariano, Jason Cunliffe, and Marcus Lopez found the back of the net for Pachanga, which strengthened its hold of fifth spot by increasing its point total to 15, just behind Kaya on goal difference.
“It was good,” Pachanga coach Noel Marcaida said in assessing his team’s first nine games in Division 1.
“Hindi lang namin nakuha `yung solo fourth. But still, it’s a long season. Gaya ng sabi ko dati, we’ll take it one game at a time.”
Pachanga surrendered an early goal to the Troopers as Meliton Pelayo struck for the Armed Forces squad four minutes before halftime.
But Pachanga took advantage of the extra space on the field that was exposed after Gener was shown a red card early in the second half for joining a scuffle between yellow card recipients
Ariel Zerrudo of Pachanga and Army’s Relan Bretaña. Mariano was rewarded first, scoring off a cross from Lopez only two minutes after Gener’s ejection.
Cunliffe, Guam’s national team captain, then scored off a rebound off a Mariano miss in the 56th minute.
Boogie Margarse knotted the count for the Troopers once more when he converted a penalty kick in the 66th, before Lopez scored the winner off a pass from the middle from courtesy of Boyet Cañedo six minutes before stoppage time.
“It was really an exciting, come-from-behind win,” Marcaida said. “Binigyan din talaga kami ng magandang laban ng Army, maybe because we started slow.
“Yung second half, we made few adjustments, nag-materialize na yung atake,” the Pachanga mentor added. “We were able to organize the midfield line so yun` yung maganda.”