Former second division club JP Voltes FC concludes its impressive campaign in the unified division of the United Football League (UFL) with a 1-0 with over Ceres La Salle FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Sunday.
The Japanese-backed club relied on the skills of midfielder Alen Angeles and goalkeeper Nelson Gasic to thump the depleted 2015 UFL champions in the season-ending game.
JP Voltes stepped on the gas pedal at the start of the match with multitude of raids led by frontline gunners John Celiz and Takumi Uesato.
Ceres replied with counterattacks as Filipino-German standout Stephan Schrock attempted a shot that was quickly blocked by Gasic in the 21st minute.
The Bacolod City powerhouse suffered a setback in the 29th minute as Schrock was sent off with a straight red card following a dangerous collision with Voltes center back Melo Tacusalme.
Consequently, Voltes scored the only goal of the contest in the 40th minute as Angeles capitalized on a rebound from a blocked initial strike by Uesato going into the break.
The second half saw Ceres making a series of attempts but Gasic stood alert in between the posts foiling all their chances.
Action intensified in the dying minutes of regulation but to the dismay of Ceres, they got a second red card in the second minute of stoppage time after Manny Ott’s made impolite gesture to the referee.
Fourth placers JP Voltes and second seeds Ceres La Salle ended the season with 41 points each on 13 wins, two draws and four defeats with the latter holding on to a 56-point edge on goal difference.
“Actually, I can say it’s an impressive season for us but we lost some games so I am not so happy. Hopefully, next season will be even better for us,” JP Voltes FC head coach Yu Hoshide said in a postmatch interview.
“Our target was to clinch a spot for the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup but half of me is okay with the result but another half is not so happy,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Global FC was officially crowned champions of the 2016 season of the country’s top-flight football competition during the awarding ceremony held after the game.
Global FC winger Hikaru Minegeshi brought home the Golden Ball award while teammate Matthew Hartmann snatched the Best Midfielder trophy.
JP Voltes FC’s Gasic and Masaki Yanagawa were named Best Goalkeeper and Best Defender, respectively while Ceres La Salle FC’s Adrian Gallardo Valdez emerged as Best Striker. Sixth placer Stallion FC bagged the Fair Play Award.