(Rizal Memorial Football Stadium)
6 p.m. – Teknika vs. San Beda
TEKNIKA takes on an undermanned Rizal-SMART San Beda FC today at the start of the two-match finals of PFF-SMART Club Championships at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Aside from James and Phil Younghusband, the Rizal booters will likewise be missing mainstays Paul Concepcion and Andres Gonzales, who like the two brothers will be forced to sit out the 6 p.m. opening match against the NCR side for incurring two yellow cards in their previous games.
All four players got their second yellow cards in San Beda’s 2-1 semifinal victory over Stallions FC-Barotac Nuevo last Tuesday at the University of Makati pitch.
Teknika will also be without key defender Badreldin Elhabib for likewise being booked with two cards, including one in the team’s 2-0 win over Pachanga in the other semifinal encounter last Wednesday night.
Organizers have applied the home-and-away format in the championship playoffs, and the draw that will decide which squad will be assigned the “home” game in either match was scheduled late yesterday at the Philippine Football Federation office in Pasig City.
A goal for the “away” team is equivalent to two while the champion will be decided by the goal aggregate of both games.
“We have to play as a cohesive unit if we can expect a good result,” said former national coach Aris Caslib whose multi-titled San Beda squad is composed mainly of former homegrown nationals who have been together for several years.
While known as exponent of attacking football, Caslib hinted that he might go on the defensive without his core players by saying “we must manage how they (Teknika) attack and make very good transition decisions.”
On the other hand, Teknika, whose solid defense has been the major reason why it has been able to reach this far, may just go all out offensively and win the game by as many goals as possible as insurance going into the last match.
The charges of coach Frank Muescan certainly have an array of scoring options led by ace striker Misagh Bahadoran and Africans Aye Arye Nil and Izzeldin Elhabib, in what promises to be a busy night for San Beda goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma.
But even without the Younghusbands, Caslib can certainly rely on the likes of forward David Fornea, currently vying for a slot on the national Under-23 squad for the Southeast Asian Games, Vaughn Mellendrez and Jeremias Jao to fill up the scoring vacuum.
The first PFF-SMART Club champion will receive a P100,000 cash prize from SMART Sports.
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