Ten-man Stallion Laguna vanquish Davao Aguilas

Earl Averilla Earl Averilla

Like a wounded animal, just as they went a man down, Stallion Laguna fought and shifted to higher gear scoring three unanswered goals en-rout to defeating Davao Aguilas in Binan.

Coach Ernest Nierra’s squad showed ruthlessness on the counter with Carlo Polli breaking the deadlock in the 69th minute and Jesus Melliza scoring a brace in the 76th and injury time to pull off a surprising win against the Davao-11.

The proceedings began with Stallion getting the first chance of the game in the third minute. Abou Mouhamed Sy was able to pick Yannick Tuason but the latter’s attempt went over the bar.

Another chance came two minutes after for the hosts but the shot was wide.

It was mainly a gritty first 30 minutes overall with both sides just cancelling each other out for the most part. Stallion had more looks towards the goal but Coach Ernest Nierras’ wards just weren’t able to come up with good attempts.

In the 35th minute Stallion started to come up with promising chances. An excellent through ball found Abou Sy but Davao’s goalkeeper O’Donnell dove well to deny the shot.

A significant amount of stoppage followed with Grommen injured prompting Davao coach Marlon Maro to replace him with Brad McDonald.

The change for the visitors seemed to have affected their solidity at the back as Laguna was able to mount a siege towards the visitors’ final third approaching half-time.

Fitch Arboleda had a double chance within the 42nd minute span. First was a ball received in the box but he did not have enough contact to threaten O’Donnell. A promising run followed for Fitch who unleashed a shot that beat O’Donnell, but the ball creeped just wide of the far post.

Davao seemed to be a bit out of sorts in injury time as another Arboleda chance came from a tight angle but Davao’s net-minder was able to collect.

Carlo Polli then tried to break the deadlock in favour of Stallion with an excellent run to the box but his shot lacked the power giving O’Donnell a chance to tip the ball wide for a corner.

Villareal finally shoots from way out but the looping ball was off target as the whistle was blown for the half time break with no goals scored.

Shortly after the restart, Melliza came into the game in place of Yannick Tuason. Shortly at the 59th minute, Harrison Sawyer was also introduced in place of Angel Guirado.

At the hour mark, an attempt by McDonald from the left flank just flew off target as the Mindanaoan side seemed to be starting to get their bearings a bit as the early phase of the second half still seemed cagey overall.

Laguna had a chance soon after as Arboleda brought the ball to the left flank then laid off a perfect ball for Melliza, who opted to shoot the ball towards the near post. O’Donnell dove well to keep the game goalless.

Then it seemed that the hosts suffered a major blow in the 65th minute as defender Cordova got handed a straight red due to a crunching ill-timed tackle. An expulsion could be a bit harsh but referee already made a decision.

Four minutes later Sawyer found himself go one-on-one with Pepito, but his shot was spectacularly stopped. Stallion retaliated with a speedy counterattack as Carlo Polli got himself in a food position who made no mistake with his attempt to make it 1-0 for Stallion.

Davao Aguilas could have levelled things soon after but Matthew Nierras pulled off possibly the best defensive move of the season as he chested and blocked Davao’s attempt with him being the last line of defence.

Soon after Jesus Melliza made it 2-0 as he unleashed a shot that completely evaded an onrushing O’Donnell.

The two goal lead prompted Davao to rush things unleashing an on-target strike in the 80th minute but Pepito did equally well to deny and collect the loose ball.

The Davao-based club laid siege of Stallion’s end as they attempt to nick a goal but they just can’t break their rivals’ defences.

Davao Aguilas were forced late in the match to employ a very high defensive line which precariously exposed them for further counterattack chances.

The risk backfired in added time as Mellizas cored his second goal of the match off a breakaway that put him one-on-one against O’Donnell. His initial shot was well saved, but the rebound fortuitously went to his way to tap into the empty net. Keeper had no chance.

Stallion still piled pressure on their visitors in the end which summed up a miserable afternoon for Marlon Maro’s men as the game ended, surprisingly given the expulsion, 3-0 in favour of the Laguna outfit.

Stallion will next face Global on 12 May while Davao, who seemed to miss Phil Younghusband due to AFC Cup Draw commitments, will look to bounce back against also skidding JPV Marikina on 13 May.

Lineups

Stallion Laguna: Pepito, Villareal, Ko, Cordova, Nierras, Alquiros, Arboleda (Ishihara 77’), Sy, Tuason (Melliza 52’), Polli, Doctora (Linatoc 89’)

Davao Aguilas: O’Donnell, Matas, Rota, Grommen (McDonald 39’), Otomo (Khan 77’), Tull, Villanueva, Kim, Hartmann, Guirado (Sawyer 59’), J Younghusband

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