Defending champion Global disputes the first semifinal slot against newcomer Pachanga Saturday, while Kaya Cignal and Nomads Auction Manila meet in another quarterfinal clash in the United Football Cup at the University of Makati Stadium.
Global, a wildcard entry from the knockout phase, hopes to ride the momentum of its emphatic 3-nil win over Army in the round of 16 when it goes up against a tough Pachanga team in the 2 p.m. match.
Kaya, which has yet to lose in four matches in the tournament, also looks to continue its razor-sharp form against a formidable Nomads side in the 4 p.m. game. Both matches will be aired live over AKTV on IBC 13.
Reigning league champion Air Force Phoenix battles Green Archers United at 4 p.m. on Sunday in another quarterfinal match. The Loyola Meralco Sparks are scheduled to play their postponed match against Sunken Garden United at Nomads at 8 p.m. on Saturday night with the winner facing Stallions FC on Nov. 30.
While Global made the win against Army look easy, Pachanga needed a 4-2 penalty shootout triumph to oust Navy in the round of 16.
Kaya advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win over Team Socceroos, while Nomads slipped past Pasargad, 1-0.
Pitch conditions remain a huge concern for Kaya coach Juan Cutillas, who expects another scrappy match against Nomads if the field becomes slippery and uneven just like in his team’s match against Socceroo in the round of 16 last Sunday.
Kaya found difficulty executing its passing game against Socceroos but managed to survive thanks to goals by Masanari Omura and Nate Burkey.
“We can beat them (Nomads) in a good pitch but if we play in a bad pitch, I think it will still be anybody’s game,” said Cutillas, a former national team coach, referring to his team’s duel with last season’s second division champions.
Nomads boasts of a solid defensive record as they have yet to concede a goal in four matches in the tournament. They managed to scrape past Pasargad, 1-0, to reach the quarterfinals.
Playing with newfound confidence and drive under coach Graeme MacKinnon, Global has made everyone forget that it struggled just to advance to the knockout stage with a superb performance against Army last Sunday.
Janrick Soriano, deployed as a striker in the absence of Misagh Bahadoran, scored two goals in the second half, after Izo El-Habbib struck in the 20th minute to power Global.
“I still think we have a lot of things to improve on, although we are playing much better now compared to the group stage,” said MacKinnon. “The matches are just going to get tougher from here.”
And Pachanga poses as a threat for Global, having held the defending champions to a 2-2 draw in their match in the “Group of Death” last month.
“It’s going to be an interesting match,” said Pachanga coach Norman Fegidero, whose squad squandered a two-goal lead in their first meeting with Global also at UMak.
Pachanga, however, will miss regular starters Osseynou Diop, Camelo Tacusalme, Ronald Batisla-ong and Jalsor Soriano due to suspension after picking up their second yellow cards for the tournament in the game against Navy.
“It’s a big challenge, missing four good players, but we just have to adjust and make do with what we have. I hope the other players step up,” said Fegidero.
Midfielder Robert Canedo and goalkeeper Kenneth Dolloso of Pachanga will actually be playing against their former club, providing an interesting subplot to what observers bill as the marquee matchup of the quarterfinals.
Also at stake in the match is Pachanga’s hopes of outright qualification to the 10-team first division in January.