Global completed a difficult 48-hour stretch on a high note, leaning on the early goal of Daisuke Sato to edge past the Loyola Meralco Sparks, 1-0, on Saturday for its fourth win in the United Football League at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Sato’s goal came 11 minutes after the opening whistle, escaping a possible handball infraction before cutting past two defenders to fire the ball into the far corner of the net.
But the UFL Cup champions needed key stops from goalkeeper Patrick Deyto to come away with another victory that gave 12 points after four matches in the 12-team, double-round league competition.
The victory came after a tough 4-0 win over JP Voltes on Thursday that was marred by a robbery that saw 11 players losing their phones from still-unidentified thieves.
“This was for me the most worrying match, not because Loyola is in great form but we only have 24 hours recovery from our game against Voltes,” said Global coach Leigh Manson, who added that team owner Dan Palami bought replacement phones for the victimized players.
Earlier, Nate Burkey scored a hat trick as defending champion Ceres-La Salle notched its first win with a 6-0 drubbing of Nomads.
Ceres entered the win column after a 3-2 loss to Loyola on opening day while resting key players who played in Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Sheikh Jamal Dhamondi in the AFC Cup in Bacolod City.
Busmen coach Ali Go plans to give his top players more rest against Agila this week, as they prepare for their May 24 AFC Cup Round of 16 match at home against Hong Kong’s South China.
In the first game, Woo Song scored two goals in the final four minutes and Pasargad stunned Agila with a 2-2 draw, forcing both tail-ending teams to split a point.