GLOBAL Cebu FC fans are in for a disappointment as the club will play both legs of its Philippines Football League semifinals against FC Meralco Manila at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Global Cebu will be the host on the first leg on Dec. 2, while the number one Meralco will be the host on Dec. 9. The Cebu City Sports Center is not available on Dec. 2 as it will host the national finals of the Milo Marathon at dawn on Dec. 3.
Without its vocal home fans, Global Cebu can take some consolation that having to play in the Rizal Memorial Stadium means it won’t have to travel and the tired team will get to rest from a hectic November schedule.
“We split them (Meralco) four times, I think we lost in one match against them. We are looking forward to playing them again, see what we can come out with, and hope to qualify for the finals,” Global Cebu FC head coach Akbar Nawas said after last Tuesday’s 2-0 win against Ceres Negros.
Global had four matches in the PFL in November and an RHB Singapore Cup championship match with Albirex Niigata (S) in Singapore.
Global beat Stallion Laguna FC, 4-3, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, drew with Ilocos United FC, 3-3, at the Quirino Stadium in Vigan on Nov. 15, travelled back to Manila three days later and lost to Meralco, 2-1. It flew to Singapore and lost 3-1 via penalty shootout to Albirex Niigata (S), before returning to Cebu to beat Ceres Negros FC last Tuesday, 2-0.
“We already fought for the first four positions and now it will be two games, it will be difficult. We don’t know about the field, about the referees, about many things. But we will fight to go to the finals, this is the goal of the club, to join the AFC,” said Global’s star striker Rufo Sanchez.
Global’s last match against Ceres didn’t live up to its billing as a “Visayas Classico.” Instead of an exciting match between two of the best clubs in the Philippines, the fans at the Cebu City Sports Center witnessed a lackluster match, in which Ceres played safe.
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic explained the he fielded mostly the team’s young players and substitutes to rest his starters and avoid injuries or suspensions going into the semifinals.
Nawas also rested some of his players that competed in the RHB Singapore Cup last Saturday.
Rufo scored the first goal against Cerea in just seven minutes, before skipper Misagh Bahadoran hit the second goal in the 33rd minute.
Global split its meeting with Meralco with a win each, while the two other matches ended in a draw.
“For me, in normal conditions, Global is a better team. But Meralco played only in the league this year and they have more rest and just have to prepare for the semifinals. Global played last week in the Singapore Cup finals, they played today (Tuesday) and they don’t have time to prepare for the game so need more than 10 days to prepare for the game but that’s they have so they have to try their best and go forward they don’t have an option,” said Vidakovic of the Global vs. Meralco match up. (EKA)