LOYOLA Meralco and Stallion FC hacked out hard-earned victories against separate foes on Sunday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to seize the top two spots in the United Football League.
The Sparks nipped a defensively stout Green Archers United, 1-0, after the Stallions eked out a 2-0 victory over Philippine Army.
James Younghusband scored the lone goal that mattered for the Sparks, who gained the top spot after hiking their point total to 15, the same as the Stallions, who are just behind on goal difference.
“We’re top of the table, but the big games will decide the title race,” Sparks coach Simon McMenemy said.
Still, Loyola found the Archers a tough nut to crack, particularly goalkeeper Paolo Pascual, who denied several Sparks attempts and could’ve forced a draw had he also rejected Younghusband’s conversion five minutes before first-half stoppage time.
The Archers stayed in sixth spot with five points as they also failed to take advantage after the Sparks went a man down following Lee Joo Young’s late ejection. The Korean winger picked up his second yellow card 10 minutes before second-half injury time.
The Stallions, on the other hand, leaned on late goals from Emmanuel Mbata and Jordan Mintah to frustrate the Troopers, who showed some fight by holding their opponents scoreless for 86 minutes before conceding to get stuck at the bottom and still winless.