November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Davao holds Global Cebu to 0-0 draw

DAVAO Aguilas FC put up a gallant stand against Global Cebu FC on Saturday night at the Philippines Football League, holding the latter to a nil-nil draw at its home turf of Cebu City Sports Complex (CCSC).

With the host side riding back-to-back wins at the CCSC, Davao made sure it would not be a conquered of Global, standing its ground and holding its own, while frustrating the home team in its push to claim the top spot in the newly created national football league.

Earlier in the day, league-leader FC Meralco Manila absorbed its first defeat in the inaugural PFL season, losing to Ceres-Negros FC, 7-0.

Global had its chances to score and had control of the match for much of the way but the Aguilas were not to concede anything as they displayed crisp defense throughout.

While in its two previous matches in front of its hometown fans Global had it steady on offense, against Davao it had it tough as goalkeeper Marko Trkulja and the rest of the Aguilas continued to foil it.

It was a result that despite leaving Davao still winless in 10 games in the PFL with a 0-5-5 record and five points, the team felt good about.

“We are very happy with the results tonight compared to the last time that we played. Our defense held up and our goalkeeper Marko Trkulja did a good job. We played a strong team in Global Cebu FC and we stuck together and maintained our discipline, and they kept a clean sheet. I’m very proud of the team’s effort.” said Davao coach Gary Phillips, whose wards were a 5-1 loser to Kaya FC-Makati in their previous game.

Davao’s defense was also the key factor that Global itself highlighted as the difference in the match.

“Our players tried really hard but Davao was better on defense tonight and they were able to make the necessary adjustments,” said Global Cebu coach Marjo Allado after their game.

The win fortified Davao’s hold of sixth place while Global (6-3-2) remained at second place with 21 points in 11 matches.

Meanwhile, the Meralco Sparks were dealt their first loss in the PFL in a dominating 7-0 fashion by visiting Ceres at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

While it was expecting a tough battle against the top team from the Visayas, still Meralco was left scrambling all throughout the match as The Busmen rendered themselves as unstoppable.

Iain Ramsay, named man of the match after, scored a hat trick (36’, 49’ and 74’) while Fernando Rodriguez (17’ and 21’) had a brace for Ceres.

Stephan Schrock had a goal in the 50th minute.

Adding insult to injury for Meralco was the own goal it gifted Ceres in the closing moments care of Alvin Ken Sarmiento.

Recognizing that they were beaten squarely by Ceres, Meralco coach offered no excuses, saying they had only themselves to blame.

“We allowed them to dictate the tempo,” said Manila coach Aris Caslib. Adding, “We made the right adjustments but a couple of goals were mistakes.”

For Ceres, it viewed the win as a good result over a top team and something that should help prepare it for its AFC Cup campaign next month.

“We played very compact, which is what we need in preparation for the AFC Cup,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic after the game.

“The most important thing is that we did not concede,” he added.

The win put Ceres (6-1-2) on third place with 19 points, up a point from fourth-running JPV Marikina FC (6-0-3).

Meralco Manila (7-2-1), for its part, continues to hold the top spot with 23 points notwithstanding the loss.