Curt Dizon powered FC Meralco Manila to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a gutsy Ilocos United FC as the leading team pulled further away from the rest of the eight-club Philippines Football League (PFL) on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
Dizon struck the lone goal at the tail-end of the first half as the Sparks notched their fourth straight win improving their record to 12-3-2 win-draw-loss for 36 points, 10 markers clear of second-running Kaya FC-Makati.
Although his team emerged victorious, Meralco Manila head coach Aris Caslib rued their squandered chances that came aplenty in the game.
“I was surprised by our (wasted) chances. We need to go back to the training pitch to work on our finishing,” said Caslib, who missed the services of suspended captain Simon Greatwich and defender Milan Nikolic.
Ilocos United remained winless in 17 games with its 13th loss in the season but mentor Ian Gillan was able to draw optimism from the match.
“We’re at the bottom of the table for a reason. But in every game, opposing coaches keep on saying how difficult it is to play against us,” said Gillan.
The capital club started aggressively with Connor Tacagni repeatedly threatening to beat goalkeeper Baba Sampana in the early goings.
Just as when it seemed that the first half would end up scoreless, Dizon received a diagonal pass from Tahj Minniecon then outran Ilocos defender Josh Reyes on the left flank before firing a shot past Sampana in the stoppage time.
The rookies from Vigan tried to retaliate late in the game but the Manileños kept their tight defense en route to their third win in as many encounters against the Ilocanos.