After the weekend’s games it’s looking quite certain that this season’s champion will be one of three teams: Global FC, Loyola Meralco Sparks or Kaya FC. These clubs have displayed that they are a cut above the rest, which the league table proves, and last weekend’s results reinforced even further.
On Saturday, despite once again failing to really hit top gear, Kaya managed to come from behind and push past Philippine Air Force Phoenix, 3-1. Although it hasn’t been vintage form for Kaya in the last couple of games, the players’ ability to do enough to get maximum points will be a huge positive for them as the season gets into the business end of things.
Last week, some might’ve felt I was too quick to write off Air Force’s chances of defending their title, but having conceded sloppy goals from set pieces once again, the Airmen are just not the same dominant side they once were.
Loyola was forced to work hard against Green Archers United in the match after, but a late Phil Younghusband goal won the game, 3-2, ensuring the club went top of the table temporarily. On a side note, to everyone who watched that match, how good is United’s Tating Pasilan? The guy’s got some serious quality to add to the turbo jets he has for feet! Quite a shame that he didn’t get the service and support he certainly deserved.
On Sunday, Pasargad took a huge step in moving away from the foot of the table as its clashed with fellow struggler Nomads Auction Manila. As expected it was a tight affair, but Majid Mahdavi settled the game on the 85th minute, scoring the solitary goal which lifted Pasargad to level on points with Green Archers United. It was the perfect response after suffering a devastating loss to Loyola just a week before.
While the top of the table is starting to separate themselves from the pack, the lower half is looking awfully tight, with only five points separating sixth place and rock bottom.
Joining the unenvied bunch is Philippine Army Fritz & Macziol, who after losing to Global 3-0, has now lost four of its last five games, with its last victory coming all the way back in late February. The Armed Forces side found it difficult to cope with high-flying Global, and it didn’t help that it was an uphill climb virtually from the get-go. Alex Obiang opened the scoring in the eighth minute, with Mohammad Ghasemi and Carli De Murga scoring late in the second half to hand Global a comfortable win and a return to the top of the table.
Despite the departure of the Guirado brothers, the league leaders have coped very well, with De Murga being particularly effective. The Philippine international has scored four goals in the last three matches, including the all-important 95th minute winner against Philippine Navy Redjuice last week.
Speaking of the Navymen, they were in action on Monday night against Stallion Gilligan’s, and this time around it was much easier for the feint-hearted to watch. Stallion took the lead very early, with former national player Jovanie Simpron setting the tone, and early in the second half Reuben Doctora doubled the advantage to ensure the victory. After starting the season in scorching form, the triumph over Navy is surprisingly the first for Stallion since a 5-2 win over Green Archers in early February.
Another round of games have come and gone, and while most have their eyes etched at the top of the table, the battle to stave off relegation is really starting to heat up. If Navy can muster a win against Nomads on Saturday, the fight to stay in Division One will be just about as entertaining as the race to the title.
If you’re enjoying the league up to this point, well, expect the drama and tension to increase significantly in the next few weeks. Another round of games are on the horizon, and I’ll be back in seven days to breakdown the results and implications. I can’t wait.
Josue Jamlang covers football for InterAKTV and announces matches for AKTV on IBC. He served as an assistant technical director for the UFL during its maiden season. Follow him on Twitter for more football discussion.