Sports


Global looks to build on winning AFC Cup start




Posted on February 23, 2017


CHAMPION Philippine club Global FC got its 2017 AFC Cup campaign to a good start, topping Myanmar’s Mangwe FC, 1-0, in their opening Group F play on Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, something it hopes to use as a springboard to a solid bid in Asia’s secondary club football tournament hosted by the Asian Football Confederation.

Champion Philippine club Global FC beat Myanmar’s Mangwe FC, 1-0, to claim its first win in the group stage of the 2017 AFC Cup. -- Alvin S. Go
Started slow in the match, Global eventually broke through before the opening half came to a close, with skipper Misagh Bahadoran finding the net off a fine cross from teammate Matthew Hartmann in the 39th minute to go up, 1-0.

Boosted by its strong finish in the first half, “The People’s Club,” as Global is referred to, continued to take it to Mangwe, getting into scoring position a couple of times but was not able to convert.

But Mr. Bahadoran’s opening-half goal proved to be enough to secure the win for Global, a double winner last year at the United Football League, and earn its first three points in the tournament’s group play.

New defender signing Wesley Santos from Brazil was named man of the match for his match-long defensive brilliance, and the Brazilian was happy to help the team to the win in his Global debut.

“My first match was difficult. But I’m happy we got the win and the three points,” said Mr. Santos through a translator in the postmatch press conference.

For Global coach Toshiaki Imai, while they welcome the win, he said they still need to fine-tune their game to achieve their best as a team.

“I saw in today’s game that some of our players have to improve on their conditioning. We also have to stay aggressive and step up our defense and counter-attacking. We will continue to work and be ready,” said Mr. Imai, himself new to the team having joined it only last month.

Global next plays away on March 7 against Boeung Key Ankor of Cambodia before traveling to Malaysia a week later for another away match versus Johor Darul Ta’zim.

Meanwhile, another Philippine club, Ceres-Negros FC, managed to notch a point after holding host team Ha Noi FC to a 1-1 draw in their opening AFC Cup Group G encounter also on Tuesday night.

Forward Bienvenido Maranon scored for the “Busmen” in the 49th minute to help his team to the lead only to be answered by Ha Noi midfielder Nguyen Van Quyet in the 57th minute to force a tie which held the rest of the way.

Ceres next faces Singapore’s Tampines Rovers on its home field Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City on March 7. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo