Azkals standout Misagh Bahadoran powered Global FC to dispatch Ceres La Salle FC, 3-1, and claim the United Football League (UFL) Cup 2016 crown at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday.
After being barred to play in last season’s cup, Global completed its redemption in the country’s premier football tournament through the help of the two goals and one assist of Bahadoran.
Ceres proved to be the hungrier team off the gates as Patrick Reichelt had his go on goal in the fourth minute with a header off a corner.
However, Global’s offense woke up in the next minutes with shots coming from Matthew Hartmann and Omid Nazari but their side was still unable to open the lid on Ceres’ goal.
Global continued to pound on the defense of Ceres and was rewarded with a goal in the 21st minute with a rebound strike by Bahadoran off a failed clearance.
The score of Global was immediately doubled after just three minutes as Bahadoran located the unmarked Hartmann inside the box to give the team a 2-0 lead.
Both clubs exchange blows in the remaining minutes of the first half but were unable to convert as Global had their foot on the title with a two-goal advantage at the break.
The onslaught of Global’s attacks remained during the restart as Bahadoran capped off his impressive display of skill with a solo effort deep in Ceres territory to extend the deficit to 3-0.
Emotions escalated in the 61st minute when Ceres La Salle head coach Ali Go was thrown out of the game after a heated protest by their squad on a non-call by the match official on a handball in the penalty area.
Within minutes, the reigning league champions finally took one back as a header by substitute Nate Burkey, who came in during halftime, found the back of the net in the 69th minute.
The Bacolod City powerhouse searched deep to find goals to force additional time but fell short of sparking a late-game surge before the end of regulation.
With the win, Global earned a spot back to the continental stage with a sure slot in the playoff round of next year’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
Consequently, Bahadoran was awarded the golden ball of the tourney while Global FC shot-stopper Patrick Deyto was named as the best goalkeeper.
National team defender and Global center back Amani Aguinaldo was given the best defender trophy while Migue Tanton of Kaya FC was proclaimed as the cup’s best midfielder.
Meanwhile, during the third place battle, Kaya bested Stallion FC, 2-1, through the brace of Senegalese stiker Robert Lopez Mendy, who was also crowned as tilt’s top scorer with 11 goals.
The Loyola Meralco Sparks FC emerged as the plate winners with a 2-0 victory against the tough JP Voltes FC in the first game of the match date.