Hikaru Minegishi and Wesley Dos Santos spearheaded a late charge as Global Cebu FC pulled off a 2-1 comeback win over FC Meralco Manila in the first leg of their Finals Series in the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
Minegishi and Dos Santos scored in the dying minutes as the No. 4 People’s Club erased a one-goal deficit to take the lead against the No. 1 Sparks in the semifinals.
“I give credit to my players for never giving up and always believing,” said Global Cebu head coach Akbar Nawas.
“We never gave up. It was just hard work and until the end we were focused,” said Minegishi, who was named as Man of the Match.
Meralco Manila mentor Aris Caslib, whose wards dictated the tempo of the game before collapsing down the stretch, lamented their loss but remained upbeat for the return leg.
“We lost in the last 15 minutes. We did not manage it well,” said Caslib.
“But can we score against Global in the second leg? I think so. Can we defend against them? I think so,” he added.
Caslib and the capital club though seized an away goal as Tahj Minniecon netted the opener with a penalty kick conversion the 35th minute.
Minniecon drew a hard tackle from Global defender Darryl Regala inside the penalty box then beat goalkeeper Patrick Deyto from the spot.
Meralco looked to be heading into a slim victory but Brazilian defender Dos Santos and Fil-Japanese midfielder Minegishi got in the way.
Dos Santos headed home a lovely delivery by Minegishi from the left corner before the latter fired a fine pass by late substitute Paolo Salenga to complete the Visayan squad’s comeback.
The Cebuanos and the Manileños clash anew in the second leg on December 9 at the same venue.