Paolo Salenga played a pivotal role anew as Global Cebu FC advanced to the semifinals of the 20th RHB Singapore Cup with a 4-3 aggregate win over Cambodian team Boeung Ket FC on Friday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Salenga netted an early goal, which proved to be the difference in Global Cebu’s entry to the penultimate phase despite going down 1-2 in the second leg.
Global head coach Akbar Nawas was elated to see his men fight through fatigue considering that this was their third game in six days.
“Given the circumstance where the players are tired, to lose the game but go through aggregate, I will take it. I said previously that it was a tale of four halves and we won it,” said Nawas in an interview with sleague.com.
The Singaporean mentor also lauded the performance of goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.
“Credit to him we are in the semifinals as he made three or four point-blank saves.”
Salenga, who notched a brace in the first leg, rose over his defender to head home a well-placed cross by Darryl Roberts from the left wing for the opening goal just four minutes into the match.
Boeung Ket got the equalizer in 10th minute as Samuel Ajayi fed a fine layoff to skipper Khoun Laboravy, who slammed the ball into the back of the net.
Ly Mizan sent a lob pass to the middle of the box where the unmarked Esoh Omogba nodded it in to push the Cambodian club ahead eight minutes past the hour mark.
Still behind in aggregate goals, 3-4, Boeung Ket pressed on their offense and easily cruised past the tired Cebuano booters.
But a resolute Deyto kept on denying the Cambodians to preserve the aggregate advantage for the Visayan powerhouse squad until the final whistle.
Global will face the winner of the match-up between Hougang United FC and Nagaworld FC in the semifinals.