PFL Semis: Late strikes give Global precious advantage

Hikaru Minegishi’s extra time strike powers lackluster Global Cebu FC with a slender advantage over wasteful Meralco Manila in the PFL ‘Finals Series’ semis first leg on Saturday in Rizal Memorial Stadium.

by Earl Averilla

  • Global Cebu FC 2 FC Meralco Manila 1
  • Tahj Minniecon opens scoring with a 61st minute penalty for Meralco
  • Wesley Dos Santos heads for a late equalizer off a corner
  • Minegishi strikes in extra time for the lead

Match Summary

A goalless first half saw Meralco dominate proceedings but cannot convert their chances. A penalty awarded was converted by Minniecon for the lead but Global saved the best for last, asthe introduction of Paolo Salenga and late conversions by Dos Santos and Minegishi proved pivotal for the Cebu side to get the lead into the second leg.

Full Report

The first half started cagey with pushing and shoving aplenty from both sides. Eventually the game settled but Meralco Manila was more fluid in their buildup.

The first chance came for the Manila club approaching the half hour mark as Curt Dizon produced a lethal run but his cross did not connect with an on-rushing teammate as the ball just flew across the face of goal.

Several chances came in the Sparks’ way but they weren’t able to capitalise or convert as Global seemed to be always on the defensive.

In the 41st minute Paul Mulders was not able to continue for Global with Paolo Bugas replacing him as the half ended in a stalemate.

Come the restart, Manila continued to pile up the pressure dominating the midfield and possession with Global keeper Patrick Deyto being called into action on a few occasions, especially in the hour mark when he saved a threatening header by Milan Nikolic.

The breakthrough came when penalty was awarded for the Sparks as the on-rushing Minniecon was clipped by Darryl Regala inside the box.

The fouled player turned into scorer as Tahj stepped up and duly converted the spot kick with his attempt deceiving the diving Deyto to the opposite direction with Meralco getting the advantage and a precious ‘away’ goal.

Global tried to immediately answer back but striker Rufo Sanchez’s effort was off-target.

Deyto proved to be a hero on the defensive end as he parried an attempt from an on-rushing Minniecon in the 69th minute.

In the 79th minute Coach Akbar Nawas introduced Paolo Salenga for Regala which proved to be decisive with Global suddenly coming to life on the offensive end.

Global’s late initiatives were rewarded as Wesley Dos Santos eventually got the equalizer late in the game as he connected just enough with Minegishi’s corner kick to beat Sparks’ keeper Florencio Badelic.

But another goal came unexpected just as the game was approaching the end as Akbar Nawas’ men found a breakaway play courtesy of Paolo Salenga on the right flank who threaded a pass to Minegishi in the danger zone who dutifully latched on to a strike that found the other side of the net for the precious advantage heading into the second leg.

The next leg of the semifinals will be played on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7:00PM also in Rizal Memorial Stadium.

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