IT was a David versus Goliath battle, but the Azkals-laden Global simply lacked bite and didn’t have enough to put down the Stallions.
Ten national team members were in the Global roster and six of them were sent to play and lead the squad, but these are wounded Azkals still reeling from a semifinal defeat to Singapore in the Suzuki Cup and the Stallions managed to outpace and outplay them for a 2-1 victory to lift the UFL Cup on Monday night.
It was a huge win for Stallion, a team that recently broke out of the second division and took fourth place in their first league appearance, while the defeat was sort of a double-whammy for Dan Palami, manager of both Global FC and the Azkals.
“For me, the problem was the Azkals were away too long from the team and we could immediately see they had to feel each other out before really settling in the game,” he said.
“It was something that we should have addressed but there was no time for us to really make adjustments from the time the Azkals came and the time we had to play.”
Patrick Reichelt, a key winger-striker for the Azkals, led five other nationals on the field for Global but they couldn’t save the squad from suffering its first defeat of the season.
Azkals Juani Guirado, Demit Omphroy, Jeffrey Christiaens and Carli de Murga also saw action, but Global, which only had two practice sessions with a complete lineup since the Azkals returned last week, couldn’t find their groove and surrendered an early goal to Ruben 'Balut' Doctora Jr.
It was Sudanese striker Izzo El-Habbib who provided the equalizer just a minute later, but the nationals could not convert for Global in the domestic competition.
Rufo Sanchez's header off a cross by Korea’s Yong Jae Pi in the 61st minute completed Stallion's epic conquest.
“They had their chances and they got two. We had our own chances but we only got one,” Palami said. “We just have to move on from this, learn from the mistakes, and wait for the next tournament.”
Global had a golden opportunity to tie the game late in injury time and force extra period, but El-Habbib’s header was tipped out by Wilson Muñoz.
“It was probably the most significant save of the season,” Palami said.
Global now prepares for the defense of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championships, which kicks off in January.
“Every time we go on the pitch, we always try to be on top. We might have fallen short just like we did today and maybe we won’t have a merry Christmas as others but life has to move on,” Palami said. “We have to get up from this debacle and make the changes necessary to even make us stronger.”