Paolo Salenga struck a brace and Misagh Bahadoran fired one as Global Cebu FC trounced Boeung Ket FC, 3-1, in the first leg of their quarterfinals tie in the 20th RHB Singapore Cup on Tuesday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Salenga netted a goal in opposite halves while Bahadoran found the back of the net in the first half to give Global Cebu a comfortable two-goal lead over the Cambodian club heading into the second leg.
“Everyone in the team, from the players to the coaching staff, deserves a pat on their backs,” said Global head coach Akbar Nawas in an interview with sleague.com.
“I’m happy to take this scoreline into the second leg,” added Nawas, who began coaching the Visayan powerhouse almost two months ago.
Salenga notched the opener just seven minutes into the match as the former National University captain tapped in a parried attempt by Azkals standout Bahadoran.
Taking his turn on the offensive end, Bahadoran escaped the offside trap on the halfway mark then beat goalkeeper Sou Yaty on a one-on-one faceoff to double the lead for the Cebuanos in the final minute of the first half.
Boeung Ket pulled one back shortly after the restart as Esoh Omogba ran past his defenders and drew a foul inside the box, which prompted the referee to award a penalty kick to the Cambodians.
Khoun Laboravy made no mistake on the spot, sending goalkeeper Patrick Deyto to the wrong side while burying the lone goal for Boeung Ket.
With the Rubbermen threatening to level, Salenga blasted a well-taken cross by Hikaru Minegishi from the left wing in the 68th to seal the victory for the Filipino side.
Boeung Ket mentor Hao Socheat saw a decent performance of his men but rued their missed scoring opportunities throughout the game.
“We played well today but failed to convert the chances that we created. At the back, we made a number of mistakes and were punished,” said Socheat.
The two clubs will meet once again in the deciding second leg on Friday at the same venue.