After a postponement of games in its opening week due to heavy rains, the UFL Cup finally got into full swing this past weekend, with 10 matches being played on Sunday. As expected, with the large disparity of quality amongst teams in the competition, there were games of all different shapes and sizes to enjoy. From full-on blowouts to nail-bitingly close contests, the UFL Cup had every football fan’s appetite quenched.
The anticipation was highest for one particular match during the day: Pachanga FC versus Stallions FC.
And everyone who came to watch at University of Makati were not disappointed. After Stallions shocked holders Global in the opening day, their dream start to the campaign was brought to a screeching halt by a Pachanga side that had no intentions of extending Coach Ernie Nierras’ honeymoon. In a very physical match that saw a total of 33 fouls, six yellow cards, and Stallions’ Jovanie Simpron being sent off, Pachanga came out on top thanks to first half goals from Christopher Ojamire and Jovin Bedic.
In the other Group C match of the day, Global got its bid to defend the title back on track, coolly dispatching Cebu Queen City United 3-0, with striker Izzo Elhabib picking up his first hat-trick of the season. The “Group of Death” is certainly living up to its name, as three teams are tied with three points each, with all eyes now turning to Pachanga’s crucial match against Global on October 23.
The Armed Forces were all in action on Sunday as well, and they proved that clubs should bring their A-game against them if they want to avoid getting embarrassed. New boys Garuda FC got the rudest of welcomes to the UFL Cup, getting demolished by the Philippine Army 11-0, with Luisitio Brillantes, Romano Vestal, Ricardo Becite all getting two a piece, and Azkal Roel Gener, Phillip Caballero, Nestorio Margarse, Wilson Dela Cruz and John Cain getting in on the action as well.
Philippine Air Force Phoenix experienced the biggest test for the Armed Forces for the day, facing a resolute Laos FC side that managed to equalize after Azkal Ian Araneta had opened the scoring after 18 minutes. Jhonny Dalman’s effort for Laos was of no use in the end, however, as retired Philippine national team legend Yanti Barsales regained the advantage for the Airmen, before Araneta completed his hat trick with strikes before the end of both halves, ensuring a 4-1 win for his side.
Philippine Navy demolished Manila All-japan, 9-0, in the last match involving an Armed Forces team, as Reydrick Viliran, Michael Fernandez, and Marlon Pinero all scored two goals, with Mark Marcaida, Jimmy Dimzon and Jose Caminos adding one each. The result put Navy ahead of Air Force on goal difference in Group E.
Green Archers United was another side giving lessons on the quality of the UFL, as they thumped Weekend Football League champions Forza 5-0 in the final match of the day. Nikko Villa getting two goals in the comfortable win for his side.
Despite the whirlwind of action over the weekend, the momentum is just starting to pick up for the UFL Cup, with next week’s matches more likely to give an indication of who will progress from the group stages.