Loyola Meralco Sparks FC took a step forward to secure the second place of this season’s United Football League after escaping JP Voltes FC, 3-2, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Sparks relied on their late-game rally to climb out of a halftime deficit to pull off a win against the Japanese-flavored team.
Loyola scored the first goal of the contest in the second minute of the first half courtesy of Tahj Minniecon.
After the opening goal, Alen Angeles even the score in the 12th minute before J Baguioro finally gave them the lead at the 21st minute to enter the break with a 2-1 advantage.
However, JP Voltes were overpowered by the more experienced Meralco Sparks in the final stretch of their second round match.
Problems mounted for JP Voltes when goalkeeper Nelson Gasic accidentally clipped Loyola’s Joaquin Canas inside the box to concede a penalty in the 54th minute.
Star striker Phil Younghusband took the shot for the Sparks and converted from the spot.
With time winding down, a revitalized Loyola launched an attack and was rewarded with a goal in the 74th minute by Filipino-Japanese winger Kou Ichi Belgira.
According to Meralco Sparks head coach Simon Mcmenemy, the win gives them a good boost in achieving their goals of taking the final No. 2 seed.
“It’s another step toward taking No.2. The only difference is that we took three points today and our nearest rival Ceres La Salle FC did not,” he said after the match.
Mcmenemy added that he is glad to have escaped a tough club with just a few games remaining in their campaign.
“I’m very happy and relieved to get the win. Its one of those games where you just have to play it out, we either get second place or don’t,” he said.
Loyola currently holds a record of 11 wins, a draw and three losses for 34 points while JP Voltes and defending champions Ceres La Salle are tied at the third and fourth places, respectively, with 32 points each.
Meanwhile, Global FC maintained its unbeaten run in the 2016 UFL tournament with a 3-1 thumping of Green Archers United FC.
Global strengthened their grip of the top spot with 41 points on 12 wins and two draws while the Green Archers remain No.7 with six victories, two draws and seven defeats.