DIEGO Barrera emerged the villain against his former team on Thursday night, leading Socceroo to an amazing come-from-behind 4-3 victory over defending champion Stallion FC in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
The former Stallion winger registered a hat-trick for the Division 1 rookies, who overhauled a huge two-goal deficit early in the game en route to only their second win in 12 games.
“There’s always motivation to play, but there’s always little extra motivation to play your former team,” said the Colombian Barrera, whom Socceroo recently picked up from the ongoing transfer window.
Although staying in eighth spot, Socceroo kept its distance from cellar-dwelling Pasargad and from relegation zone as well.
The 2013 Division 2 champion also hurt the title-retention bid of the Stallions, who were stuck in fourth spot.
In his debut for his new squad, Barrera didn’t waste any time to make his mark as he pulled a goal back for Socceroo with a free kick in the 57th minute after the Stallions established a 2-0 lead in the first half courtesy of Ruben Doctora Jr. and Masood Shadideh.
After Junior Gaye gave the Stallions another two-goal buffer in the 61st minute, Barrera converted his second goal a minute later with a strike inside the box to keep Socceroo at bay.
Park Yi Young then scored on a stunning a long-range effort that finally knotted the count and set the stage for Barrera’s heroics, scoring the marginal goal from the right side in the 85th.
It was an early birthday present for the Colombian winger, who will turn 27 on March 25
“Luckily we were able to turn it around after starting just completely flat and asleep and that shows a lot of character for a team,” Barrera said.