LOYOLA-Meralco continued to press its offensive prowess, this time scoring a 4-1 win over a weary Pachanga-Diliman side that went a man down in the second half of their United Football League match at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig on Tuesday night.
Phil Younghusband followed up his four-goal effort against Philippine Army with another splendid showing, scoring a brace and assisting on another goal to lead the Sparks, who grabbed the provisional hold of second place with 26 points, one behind Stallion.
“We just got to keep doing our job and then hope Global or Stallion has a big slip-up that we can take advantage,” Sparks skipper James Younghusband said. “The pressure’s on them. We’re just focused on taking each game at a time.”
Byeong Yeol Jeong opened the scoring for the Sparks, scoring off a pass from Phil Younghusband 13 minutes into the game.
Jason Cunliffe had a golden chance to knot the count for Pachanga as the 2012 Division 2 champion was rewarded a penalty after Sparks defender Chad Gould was called for a handball a few minutes before halftime.
But Cunliffe, Guam’s national team captain, was denied by Sparks goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma.
The Sparks then pounced on Pachanga after the latter went a man down following skipper Yves Ashime’s second yellow card for fouling Roxy Dorlas a minute into the second half.
Phil Younghusband doubled the lead after converting his own penalty attempt five minutes later, before exploiting the extra space to score anew four minutes later.
Mark Hartmann capped off the Sparks' spree by scoring in the 63rd minute, before substitute OJ Clariño fired Pachanga’s lone goal 12 minutes before stoppage time.
“I think some passages in the game we played some lovely football. Ref pulled off a great save. I think that was the turning point of the game,” James Younghusband said.
Pachanga, which was coming off a two-day break, remained in fifth place with 16 points.