MATTHEW Hartmann made a grand return to the football scene as he powered Loyola Meralco to an 8-0 drubbing of Flame United in the Philippine Football Federation-Smart Club National Championships on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
In his first game back since the PFF suspended him indefinitely for unceremoniously leaving the national team in the middle of its 2011 Southeast Asian Games campaign in Indonesia, the former under-23 Azkals captain registered a second-half hat-trick to lift the Sparks to a berth in the quarterfinals.
Mark Hartmann and Phil Younghusband each fired a brace while James Younghusband added one goal for the Sparks, who next face fellow United Football League club Kaya, which trounced M’Lang, 5-0, last Wednesday in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
UFL Cup semifinalist Green Archers United and Pachanga likewise arranged a final-eight meeting after dispatching their respective opponents on the same day.
The Archers walloped Romgarjal, 6-1, at the Jose Rizal Memorial State University Field in Dapitan City, while Pachanga tripped Cebu Queen City United, 3-1, at the Aboitiz Football Field in Cebu City.
Over at the Benguet State University, La Trinidad, Benguet, General Trias also booked a ticket to the quarterfinals after the Korean-laden squad downed Baguio United, 3-1.
Meanwhile, action continues on Sunday as defending champion Global unveils new coach Bryan Reid when it takes on Nomads at 6:30 p.m. Pasargad collides with Army earlier at 4 p.m.
UFL Cup champion Stallion faces Ceres at 3 p.m. at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The quarterfinals of the event, which aims to determine the best football club in the country, are set from January 19 to 20, while the semifinals are on January 26. The finale will be on February 2.