Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stallion bloodies Loyola’s nose but the Sparks move on

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Stallion bloodies Loyola’s nose but the Sparks move on
In one of the best matches of the 2011 UFL Cup, Stallion FC showed that they will be a force to reckon with when they took the fight to Loyola. But the Sparks’ were rescued by a brace from Phil Younghusband.
by rick olivares with pics by brosi gonzales

November 30, 2011
University of Makati

On a day when the Philippines honored Andres Bonifacio whose courage and leadership gave birth to a revolution that eventually ousted the country’s Spanish colonial masters, a bloody battle for football supremacy was waged on the University of Makati pitch.

The Loyola Meralco Sparks by virtue of its pre-season build-up looked like a cinch to book a finals seat for the 2011 UFL Cup. In four matches leading to the quarterfinals clash with Stallion FC, Loyola had dominated previous opponents – Team Socceroo, Agila, Internacionale, and Sunken Garden United -- by scoring an average of 10.3 goals per match with striker Phil Younghusband tallying a league-best 22 goals.

They had not been tested all tournament long and if the Sparks are to fulfill their title aspirations, they had to go through the battle-tested and tough Stallion club that will be moving up to Division One when the league competition kicks off in January.

The Iloilo-based Stallion FC placed second in Group C, the tournament’s acknowledged “Group of Death” as it also had defending cup champions Global, newcomer powerhouse Pachanga, and Queen City United. Nierras’ team finished second behind Pachanga with six points dispatched Victory Liner-Diliman 2-1 in their Round of 16 match to book their ticket against the tournament favorites. “We want this to be the coming out party for Stallion,” promised Nierras who also minds the women’s national football team.

In response to their coach’s challenge, Stallion FC cried out of the huddle, “We are… Stallions!”

And this quarterfinals match up was like a battle between Athens and Sparta with Loyola Meralco Sparks the former and Stallion the latter (as Iloilo has long been sending out players to the national team to do combat in the international arena for flag and country). After 98 minutes of football (including added time), Loyola was marching on with a 2-1 win albeit with a bloodied nose.

In a high-intensity match highlighted by some great attacking and counter-attacking football, it will also be remembered for the rough game not seen since the Pachanga-Navy quarterfinals clash.

Clash. The word seems like an understatement in the light of the aggressive game that was played. The Illongos pressured the Sparks by crowding the ball carrier and playing the passing lanes from kickoff. Unused to that harassing tactics, Loyola quickly gave up possession and Stallion forced two corner shots in the first six minutes.

Unable to get any semblance of a decent passing game going, Loyola resorted to the occasional long ball and in the 10th minute, Phil Younghusband corralled a pass and quickly beat his two defenders. Racing inside the box, the Fil-British striker was stopped but in the confusion between Stallion keeper Louie Sobrevega, starting in place of regular netminder Wilson Muñoz who was out with an injury sustained in their last match, and left back Jake Hugo as who would clear the ball, Younghusband poked in a goal for the first tally of the evening.

The match that had been dominated by Stallion up to that point dramatically swung Loyola’s way. But Stallion reminded Loyola that they were not going gently into the good night when Antonio Albor volleyed from some 30 yards out that the Sparks’ keeper Ref Cuaresma had to reach high to tip the shot away.

As the fouls piled up, so did the cards. And Stallion paid for it early on when defender and former national player Jason Cordova was sent off for a second yellow card following a tackle on Younghusband. Cordova disputed the card after the match and said that it was a decent tackle and did not merit a second caution.

The result was a red card and upon the match’s resumption, Loyola midfielder Matthew Hartmann sent a cross from the right flank that Younghusband headed in for his second goal.

The match turned more brutal as players from both sides taunted one another and gave life to the ancient warrior’s dictum of an eye for an eye by tackling one another, sneaking in punches and headbutts.

In the 84th minute, following a failed attempt by Stallion’s Vincent Braga who had replaced the ineffective Jovanie Simpron at forward, the former still kicked at the ball even when it was in the possession of Cuaresma. The Loyola keeper contended that Braga hit him and he retaliated with a headbutt on the Stallion forward. Referee Emil Balidio responded by assessing Cuaresma and Braga a pair of red cards.

The Sparks sent in Gabriel Vorbeck at goal while removing midfielder Jake Morallo from play. The banishment of Braga in the meantime left Stallion with only nine players on the field.

No problem. Showing uncanny verve and resiliency, Nierras’ team renewed their attack and in the 78th minute, Ruben Doctora Jr. found striker Joo Young Lee with a perfect lateral pass for a goal. 2-1, Loyola.

Stallion had another opportunity to level the match but Loyola’s besieged defenders held firm until full time.

“We expected a rough game,” said Loyola assistant coach Vince Santos after the match. “A game like this is not a simple walk in the park. Stallion also has it share of former national players and they have a team that is highly skilled. The rough style of play works well for them and it somewhat threw us off our game plan. The boys expected the rough stuff but still they reacted to it and we paid for it by losing Ref Cuaresma. They also got hurt for the rest of the game by losing Cordova and Braga. But as they say, ‘a win is a win.’ So we will look at the tape and see how we can address this style of play in the future.”

Nierras lamented what he believes were bad calls against his side. “Look at the fouls,” pointed out Nierras. Loyola was assessed 22 fouls while Stallion were whistled for eight. “Had we scored early in the game, this would have been a different result. But I am proud of my guys because we showed our character that we are not going to roll over for any team.”

Stallion had 18 shots on goal while Loyola managed only five. But Younghusband’s brace were enough to see them through the semifinal round where they will play Kaya Cignal FC on Monday.


  1. Sayang sana televised to.. ganda ng laro(even its a ugly rough game) Younghusbands prove to be not to be the boy nextdoor na pacute lang sa football. they play head to head with the stallions.. nice game but one thing , the referee lost control of the match.

  2. If you saw the crowd.. Ilonggos definitely knows their football...The support is undying... The crowd plays with the team... you mess with the team, means you're messing with the whole town...

  3. Proud ilonggo bisan pirde... til next season of UFL. We proved to them that ilonggos can really kick the ball & we will continue kicking...

  4. Need not wait for the nest season, there is a UFL league after this in which they will both play in the division one.

  5. Stallion = Real Madrid of the Philippines

  6. im proud to be ilonggo and to be barotacnon were most players of stallion is in barotac nuevo football capital of th phils..may god bless u all guys..

  7. AKTV do not know the teams. It was predicted that this game will be tough and very exciting. It is like a championship game. At ano ang palabas sa AKTV, puro naman yun replay. At di nga malaman kung ano ang palabas nila. Parang kung ano lang yung maisip na i-replay.

  8. I watched the game at UMak and the Ilonggo crowd was very loud. We even chanted "Stallion... Stallion." Whats makes Stallion FC different to other clubs is that it has a large fan base, the Ilonggos who are really attached to this Iloilo-based team.

  9. i watched the game last week at UMAK..i think referee's decision ang ngpatalo sa Stallion FC..Parang binebaby nila yung Younghusband and Hartman brothers, konting bangga lang ng Stallion player foul agad. STALLION FC was nothing to ashamed of the game! Talagang Ilonggo blood, pag football yung laro..i was shocked when the crowd booed J. Younghusband, para kasing marunong pa sa referee..STALLIONS!!! Winning and Losing the game is not important but it is how you play the GAME..GODbless..

  10. Balot is the player of the match for me

  11. i was surprised with photo.. did they call it foul... hahaha coz ilonggos can really kick a ball not a person... PROUD OF U BRO ANTONIO aka "BULDOG" is that phil younghusband?

  12. That game is the real "championship"...ilonggos may air force pa kita nga nabilin...

  13. Yep! may air force pa ta na bilin. God bless to the air force team. Live tonight sa AKTV, nami tani maglantaw galing may futsal game kami.