Stallion FC derailed Loyola Meralco Sparks FC’s attempt to snatch the second place plum of this season’s United Football League (UFL) after eliciting a 2-2 draw from the latter at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on Saturday.
Stallion that finished sixth this season, relied on the strikes of Fitch Arboleda and team skipper Ruben Doctora to end Loyola’s hopes of clinching a berth to the Asian Football Confederation Cup next year.
It was a quick-paced opening half for the Stallions as Arboleda scored the initial goal just 50 seconds into the game via long-range shot.
However, the two clubs forged a 1-1 stalemate at halftime following a goal by Stallion FC defender David Basa in the second minute of stoppage time.
As the game continued, Stallion’s Doctora notched a breakaway goal in the 53rd minute.
Down by one goal, Loyola sustained their attacks and was rewarded with the conversion by veteran midfielder Simon Greatwich from outside the box.
The opposing teams went toe-to-toe but no goals were notched until the end of regulation.
The Stallions ended their campaign in the 2016 season of the UFL with a record of eight wins, seven draws and four losses.
On the other hand, Loyola finished third with a total of 41 points on 13 victories, two draws and four defeats.
“When Fitch scored that goal, it was not accidental that was rehearsed. Even the second goal—that was rehearsed. I told the guys, that you should just play the way we train and good things will happen,” head coach Ernest Nierras said during the postmatch interview.
He added it is unfortunate that they spoiled Loyola’s chances of playing in the AFC Cup but reiterated that they aim to close the season giving their best shot.
“For us, it was always playing because we want to win. It does not matter who we are going to play [against]. We are going to play with everything we got. That is how we are,” he stated.
Nierras noted that he is please with the performance of their club toward the end of the season despite failing to win the title.
“I think we have been able to play well in the past three or four games. At least in the second round we played better. The players understood what they are supposed to do,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Kaya FC capped off their tour in the unified division of the UFL with a convincing 5-0 victory over former second division club Forza FC in the first game.
Kaya banked on the scoring prowess of Senegalese striker Robert Lopez Mendy, who had an impressive output of four goals.
The men in yellow finished fifth with 12 wins for a total of 37 points while Forza is eighth with 13 points.