A DEPLETED Global side forced Tanjong Pagar United to a fighting 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Singapore Cup semifinals to keep its pursuit of international glory burning on Tuesday night at the Queenstown Stadium.
Despite playing with only 14 players due to injuries and suspensions, the former United Football League champions still impressed, banking on a strong start before leaning on a late goal against a fancied Singapore League side to score the stalemate.
Global, left to carry the Philippine flag after Loyola Meralco was booted out from the quarterfinals, thus arranged a winner-take-all match in the second leg on Friday at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
A win for the Dan Palami-owned side will make it the first Philippine squad to step foot in the finals. The Sparks barely missed the championship round last year.
Aaron Altiche sparkled in the right wing, assisting on Misagh Bahadoran’s ninth-minute goal that gave Global the early lead, before pouncing on the weak handling from the Jaguars’ goalkeeper to score the game-tying goal in the 71st minute.
After Bahadoran scored, Global saw Tanjong Pagar equalize in the 30th minute and could’ve surrendered more if not for goalkeeper Roland Sadia’s numerous saves.
Despite an ongoing contract dispute with Stallion in the UFL, Global fielded Spanish sensation Rufo Sanchez, who started at forward alongside Under-23 Azkals Joshua Beloya.
Defenders Jerry Barbaso, Carlos Guisso, Jason de Jong, and Jeffrey Christiaens, and midfielders Ben Starosta and Marwin Angeles joined Sanchez, Beloya, Altiche, Bahadoran, and Sadia in the starting lineup.
Ed Sacapaño, Marvin Angeles, and Jeremy Theuer were the substitutes.