PHILIPPINE Army showed its locals can stand toe-to-toe with the foreign recruits as it turned back Socceroo, 2-1, and continue its rise in the ranks of the United Football League on Saturday at the Emperador Stadium in Mckinley Hill.
The Korean-reinforced Troopers built a two-goal cushion behind their homegrown players as the cushion proved enough to weather a late storm from the newly promoted side and the ejection of a teammate.
Ricardo Becite and John Cain emerged the goalscorers for the military side, which moved two spots ahead to fourth place after improving its point total to 13.
Socceroo suffered its seventh loss in 11 games and remained stuck at eighth spot.
It was an impressive result for the Troopers considering they have been lacking practice sessions the past two weeks. And even if they do get to train, they hardly become complete.
“Minsan pito lang kami nag-e-ensayo. Pero wala kaming magawa kasi part ng trabaho. Hindi lang naman football ang priority sa Army,” Becite said.
“Pero pag dating sa laro, buhos na lang…tsaka puso,” added the 27-year-old Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo native, one of the most promising homegrown Troopers who opened the scoring 31 minutes into the game.
Thrust to the top for the second straight game, the natural defender Cain showed he was comfortable with his new position as he doubled the lead 15 minutes after the restart.
Stanley Ankrah pulled a goal back five minutes before stoppage time for a Socceroo side that started its comeback attempt.
Army further gave Socceroo a chance to equalize when the squad went a man down a minute into stoppage time after Becite was thrown out after picking up his second yellow card of the match for tackling an opponent.
“Hindi ko na napigilin yung momentum ko kaya dumeretso ako dun sa kalaban,” he said.