by rick olivares
Sometimes it’s the simplest of game plans that will get you a win.
Nomads, far from their usual stomping grounds, minus eight players, still unable to practice as much as they’d like, smashed and grabbed a huge 1-0 win against Pachanga in UFL Cup play.
In the second ever UFL match played at the Marikina Sports Center, Nomads employed a triangle of death where midfielder Phil Connolly stopped Pachanga’s attack from the middle while captain and center back Randy Musters and left back Jonathan Atangan repelled those that got through.
Despite being technically superior, Pachanga couldn’t get find that exquisite final ball to striker Ariel Zerrudo.
The smaller dimension of the goal coupled with the size of the goalkeepers – Friso Klok for Nomads and Manuel Saubach for Pachanga who both easily top over six feet in height – was an advantage for the defense.
In the 30th minute, it took a moment of miscommunication where Pachanga captain and center back Yves Ashime headed back the ball to Saubach. Only the keeper rushed out to also try and claim the long ball. To everyone’s horror, the ball bounced into an empty net for an own goal.
Pachanga went into the second half and redoubled their efforts only to find Nomads even more resolute in their defense. Boyet Cañedo, Ousseynou Diop, and Jason Cunliffe all had chances to score but their shots were either wide of veered off at the last moment.
After dodging those bullets, the late entry of Abubaker Hwedi for forward Louis Ohleneorff gave Nomads more energy up front and speed on the wings. That kept Pachanga busy on the defensive end with Ashime conceding a corner. But Saubach, like Klok on the opposite end, easily snatched the threat away.
“It’s a massive massive win,” crowed Connolly after the match. “They are much more technically superior to us but we just really wanted this so bad. They have a deep bench while we didn’t have much tonight. But we came in loaded with heart.”
Nomads was without mainstays Jeff Blake who after an injury last season should be back in a month, Kristian Jorgensen, David Denison, Nicolas Hacker, Sam Fogg, Steven Borrill, and Loic Toullec. “No doubt one of the biggest victories in Nomads history,” added head coach Michael Denison. “We have three players out of the country on work and the rest are injured. We went in with a simple game plan – be aggressive and never concede anything. It worked.”
The Merville-based club neutralized Pachanga’s speed on the wings with Paolo Arroyo and Luis Infante oft disrupting the forward passes. Pachanga midfielder Ousseynou Diop found the space to push and dance around in the midfield but he couldn’t find his forwards if he did get past Connolly. “Phil was a rock in the middle,” Musters paid tribute to his teammate. “It also helped that we’re tall as well so we can win those high balls.”
Serna Ashime Rances Santiago
Zaghi Cañedo Diop Octavio
Arroyo De Rama Connolly Enrile
Atangan Musters WIllams Johnson