by rick olivares
There are two quotes from Stallion head coach Ernie Nierras that stand out with his side’s 6-0 win over brother team Sta. Lucia in Group D of UFL Cup play.
One: “Rufo Sanchez is not Phil Younghusband. He is Sanchez. Rufo Sanchez.”
The Spaniard, on loan to Stallion from International de Madrid, was five of six in his attempts at goal putting the big chill on Sta. Lucia. Based on his game against the Philippine Men's Football National Team in last February's Dili Kamo Nag-iisa charity match and his recent games, he is projected to be a big time goal scorer in their vein of Phil Younghusband.
Two: “Panahon na para maglaba,” sang Nierras in reference to the laundry bet with the manager of Sta. Lucia. There was a pre-game wager between the two squads where the losing team’s manager would launder the winning team’s kits at their expense.
It was a happy Stallion team all right as they finally barged into the win column now that they have their first team back. Missing its Korean contingent who were in Korea playing a tournament that they won, Stallion was too much for its opposite number who were simply overwhelmed.
Stallion quickly established dominance of the midfield where they repeatedly found teammates with through balls and high balls.
Sanchez blasted one from inside the box to open the scoring in the 9th minute. Fourteen minutes later, Simpron found a hole in the defense for a textbook perfect throughball to Sanchez who took one dribble before firing past a diving Dong Hyun Kim for a 2-0 lead.
Two minutes later, in the 25th minute, Sanchez scored his hat trick when he controlled the second ball off a header by teammate and compatriot Joaquin Cañas for a cabeza of his own and his first hat trick on Philippine soil.
He would score two more goals including one off a throw in from Simpron. Left back Young Jae Pi added a goal of his own in the 85th minute to close out the scoring.
“We do not get to practice,” lamented Dr. Eu Hyung Pee who crossed over from Stallion to coach Sta. Lucia. “Maybe now every one can practice.”
The 6-0 win sends the Barotac Nuevo-based club on a collision course with Air Force in their next fixture. But they will have to do it without Sanchez who will be unavailable on account of two yellow cards.
Playing in the UFL’s first ever match at the Marikina Sports Center, the smaller goal favors the defense especially with tall goalkeepers. Dong Hyun Kim stands about 6’1” and cuts a massive figure at goal. But he never had to contend with a predator like Sanchez whose excellent ball skills left the defense lagging a second too late. And that was a crucial second for the Spaniard to unload one-on-one where he found the back of the net five times in six attempts.
When asked about his Philippine adventure with Cañas, Sanchez said in halting English, “It’s fun. Different. But I like it.”
So should his teammates when they receive their freshly laundered kits in a few days’ time.
Bervic Italia Joaco Cañas Yeul Woo Nam Yong Jae Pi
Hyo Il Kim Antonio Albor Won Hyung Lee Joo Young Lee
Jovanie Simpron Rufo Sanchez
Doumbia Abdoulaye Jimmy Vergara
Mark Rivera Marjo Allado Dong Jhun Lee Jhenver Vergara
Seong Kab Baek Da Bin Kim Tommy Escoletero Ronie Espinosa
Dong Hyun Kim