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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Depleted Global boots out Loyola from UFL Cup

OH, SHIT! A quick turn separates Izzo El Habbib from Loyola defenders Park Min Ho and Jang Jowon to go one-on-one with Ref Cuaresma. El Habbib's goal was the winning one for Global.

Depleted Global boots out Loyola from UFL Cup
by rick olivares pic by isko jose/interaksyon

The British Special Air Service lives by this simple creed, “Who dares wins.”

You can say that after Tuesday night, the same applies to Global. Minus eight of the team’s national players who were in Cebu in preparation for the Singapore friendly, Global suited up only 14 players one of whom was injured after a horrendous motorcycle accident.

The resulting 2-1 win over Loyola to advance to the UFL Cup Finals for the second time in three years sent so many messages – that they remain the class of local club football and will remain a power for many years to come; and that by playing minus their bevy of national players, their statement of country above club is a dig at the league.

Global left Juani Guirado, Misagh Bahadoran, Carli de Murga, Demetrius Omphroy, Patrick Reichelt, Jeffrey Christiaens, Marwin Angeles, and Paolo Pascual in the Philippine Men’s National Team’s training camp in Cebu where they are in preparation for the November 15 friendly with Singapore.

Knowing that Loyola likes to be patient with their offense, Global played aggressive early on. They kept three defenders in Jerry Barbaso, Ange Guisso, and Delon Yao while placing Matthew Uy and Marvin Angeles in holding midfield positions. Both Uy and Angeles were to link up for opportunities to attack while the three centerbacks stayed behind. Normally, Barbaso would join the attack from the wing but he stayed home to guard against counter attacks.

For Loyola, this match had the feel on the Gombak United match in Singapore where instead of stepping on the gas pedal they came out slow and lacking fire. They ran a 4-1-4-1 that gave them all sorts of problems from the opening whistle. Global immediately probed Loyola’s defense. In only the third minute of play, Yu Hoshide lifted a ball from 40 yards out to Izzo El Habbib inside the box. The Sudanese striker turned and had space to cause some damage but Sparks keeper Ref Cuaresma was wise to the move as he snatched the ball away.

Global repeated it twice more with success before a simple through ball to the left side of the box found Alex Obiang with space to forage inside. With nary a defender within a foot of him, the Cameroonian raced in and fired towards the far post. Just like that and in only the sixth minute of play, Loyola conceded another early goal (they’ve had a nasty habit of doing that lately with Geylang United, Kanbawza, Tampines Rovers, Gombak United, Pachanga, Nomads, and now Global getting their first licks in).

And just as it was against Gombak United, the Sparks degenerated into a maze of errors, poor play, and even blaming one another.

Even following the reset, they still had nothing. Fidelis Nnabuife didn’t have too much trouble racing down the left flank where he beat PJ Fadrigalan to send a cross to Izzo El Habbib who nearly scored. That was it for Fadrigalan who came out with Alex Elnar replacing him. Elnar’s entry galvanized the offense as his stops of Fidelis’ runs on the left flank saw Loyola finally began to exert themselves offensively. With Anto Gonzales also working hard in the back, Loyola began get its bearings. Unfortunately, their finishing left much to be desired as they oft misfired inside the box.

In the 59th minute, in one of their best scoring chances of the game, Phil Younghusband found brother James on a fast play with a 20-yard diagonal pass. The elder brother beat a defender and found himself one on one with Global goalkeeper Roland Sadia. But the Loyola captain’s foot got under the ball sending it sailing harmlessly wide. James Younghusband buried his face in his hands.

Loyola would have three more scoring chances all of which they misplayed inside the box before Global made them pay for not converting.

El Habbib latched onto a forward pass and with two defenders around him, turned to his right to fire one past Cuaresma to make it 2-0 in the 83rd minute.

In an attack borne of desperation, Loyola pulled back one when James Younghusband scored three minutes later but time and Global’s defense conspired to give the Dan Palami-coached club a win to book them a finals seat.

Even without Global’s national players, because of the depth and talent available, they can start their entire bench and take on any club in the UFL. Global’s hallmark has been their speed but this match is a textbook study in power football. Their players have the size and strength to keep possession. It isn’t easy for even smaller players to take the ball away from them.

They play without any elaborate formations or game plans. “We prefer to keep it simple,” said Palami eschewing any secret match schemes. “Play aggressive and dictate the pace of the game. We can do that by attacking. We didn’t have much of a bench tonight but our players are all workhorses. This shows their skill and talent to be able to accomplish something like this.”

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