Global Cebu FC pulled off a 3-2 shocker over Group F favorite Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) FC, in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup preliminary round meeting at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Wednesday.
Reeling from a 0-4 defeat against the same team last March 14 at the Larkin Stadium in Malaysia, Global made sure it wouldn’t happen again in front of the hometown crowd with a sizzling first-half performance.
The win put Global on top in Group F with nine points on 3-0-1 (win-draw-loss) record while JDT dropped to second with seven points on 2-1-1 card.
Global midfielder Dennis Villanueva started the scoring for the home team in 27th minute off a pass by teammate Hikaru Minegeshi.
The Filipino club stayed aggressive and once again rewarded with a goal by Japanese standout Shu Sasaki in the 32nd minute.
Azkals center back Amani Aguinaldo added on to the advantage of Global with a shot in the 35th minute to place his squad ahead, 3-0, going into the halftime break.
“I think we caught them by surprise in the first half. We actually thought that the best way to play them was to really bring the game to them and press,” Global FC chief executive Dan Palami said after the game.
“It’s just a group stage win but it’s a win against a former champion, whom we last played and defeated us 4-0. It’s a good recovery and I think the players will believe in themselves again,” Palami added.
Johor, the 2015 winners of the AFC Cup, tried to mount a rally in the second half as striker Gabriel Guerra scored two goals in the 48th and 84th minute to keep his team within striking distance, 2-3.
But Global’s defense held on to preserve the massive victory for the home team.
Global will face Magwe FC of Myanmar next on April 19 at the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon.
In the other Group F battle, Magwe and Vietnamese team Boeung Ket Angkor FC settled for a 1-1 draw at the former’s home stadium in Myanmar.