HE could’ve played sooner or later, but one thing’s for sure: Misagh Bahadoran ensured he made his presence felt the moment he came back.
In his first game in two months, the Filipino-Iranian winger wasted no time in heralding his return from an MCL injury as he played a key role in Global FC’s crucial 2-1 victory over Loyola Meralco on Tuesday night in the United Football League.
The 27-year-old Bahadoran, who traces his Pinoy roots to Mabalacat, Pampanga, came off the bench and scored the equalizing goal in the win that helped his squad move closer to its second UFL crown in three years.
Global coach Leigh Manson admitted his ward was healthy enough to play even as early as last week.
“He’s been coming back steadily. He probably could’ve been on the bench the last game, but I wanted to make sure he can take a tackle, so we held him back a little further.”
The Scottish mentor’s decision paid dividends as Bahadoran knotted the count in the 65th minute, shortly after teammate Mark Hartmann’s penalty attempt was denied by Loyola goalkeeper Baba Sampana.
“Misgah made a huge difference,” Manson said. “He was quick and he’s got good feet.”
Bahadoran was just pleased to step into the field once again — even getting the privilege to wear the captain’s armband after he replaced skipper Jason de Jong early in the second half.
“It was very, very difficult for me, watching the games,” the Azkals pool member admitted. “Every match I wanted to be on the pitch and help my teammates.”
“But this time, I was back against Meralco, one of the strongest teams in the league. And I think I did a good job because my coach is happy,” he added, smiling.
Now, he’s one of the reasons why his team is on the cusp of repeating its 2012 feat, but he is the first to admit the UFL title race is far from over.
“We were celebrating like champions, but it’s not yet finished,” Bahadoran admitted. “We’ll work hard to keep this happiness forward.”
The title, however, is Global’s to lose as the powerhouse squad improved its point total to 44 points after 18 games, gaining a five-point lead over the second-running Sparks, with still a game on hand. Third-running Kaya has 36 points in 17 games.
Global has six games left to play while Kaya has seven more.