Darryl Roberts fired a brace anew as an undermanned Global Cebu FC made history after pulling off a 2-1 victory (4-3 on aggregate) over Hougang United FC in the semifinals of the 20th RHB Singapore Cup on Saturday night at the Hougang Stadium.
The Trinidadian striker Roberts repeated his two-goal feat from the first leg to lift Global Cebu to a milestone of being the first Filipino club to barge into the finals of the annual tournament.
The Visayan squad’s tactician Akbar Nawas heaved a sigh of relief after seeing his ten-man team seize the remarkable win sans injured captain Misagh Bahadoran, Ojay Clariño and Amani Aguinaldo.
“I’m relieved, of course, with all the problems we had. We had a lack of players and they played so many games recently. To get the winning goal after going a man down showed great character and credit goes to the team,” said Nawas.
Roberts put the Philippine invitee ahead just 13 minutes into the match as the former Trinidad and Tobago international went for a diving header off a cross by Paolo Salenga.
Spanish forward Pablo Rodriguez rolled the ball past goalkeeper Patrick Deyto to equalize for Hougang United before the break.
Global was reduced to ten men in the 70th minute as midfielder Dennis Villanueva was slapped with his second yellow card following a hard challenge on Fumiya Kogure.
But it was the People’s Club that still prevailed after Cheetahs’ goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid misjudged a long ball from Deyto, which Roberts nodded into the empty net to notch the match-winner in the 72nd.
Hougang head coach Philippe Aw admitted that his wards’ complacency following Villanueva’s ejection doomed their championship hopes. “The turning point came when Global had a man sent off. We felt that victory is ours for sure. That’s a dangerous thought. Immediately, we switched off and got punished,” rued Aw.
Global will battle for the trophy against defending titlist Albirex Niigata Singapore FC, which hacked out an aggregate 5-2 beatdown of Home United FC in the other semifinal tie. JEREMIAH Undermanned Global stuns Hougang United in Singapore Cup