OUT of action in the Philippines Football League (PFL) for three weeks, league-leading FC Meralco Manila Sparks resume their campaign tomorrow in Cebu City when they collide with host side Global Cebu FC.
Sporting a league-best 12-4-2 record and 40 points, the Sparks are out to create further separation from second-running Global (9-6-4 and 33 points) when they face each other at 4 p.m. at the Cebu City Sports Complex (CCSC).
Meralco enters the contest off a 1-1 draw with JPV Marikina FC on Aug. 23, a result that stopped for the Sparks a string of four straight wins.
The long tournament break resulted from the recent international break to allow some PFL players to fulfill their national team duties.
Heading back to the pitch anew, the Sparks said they are very excited, more so they are facing a team like Global whom they have met twice in the season already but have not had much success against with to date.
In their first encounter in July, the two teams fought to a 2-2 draw while Global claimed the second game in August, 2-1.
“This is an important match for the players and the club,” said Meralco coach Aris Caslib in the lead-up.
“We have to manage their fast and good players up front as well as their quality defenders. This is an important stage in the league for our team. Everyone knows the September campaign is crucial and it starts with the game against Global Cebu. Everyone has to step up and focus,” he added.
Looking to spoil Meralco’s visit is Global, a 3-1 winner over Davao Aguilas FC last Wednesday in Cebu.
Brazilian Wesley Dos Santos (24’), Darryl Roberts (62’) and Paolo Salenga (71’) provided the goals for Global in the win in front of its home fans, which towed the team to solo second spot in the newly formed national football league.
“This morale-boosting win is a testament that Global can achieve anything as long as we play as a team,” Global Cebu skipper Misagh Bahadoran said after the game.
Tickets for the Meralco-Global match are priced at P20 for the grandstand, P100 for premium seats and P200 for the VIP area and are available at the Cebu Football Association office right beside CCSC. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo