With their backs against the wall, Global Cebu FC produced a stunning comeback in the AFC Cup, defeating Burmese side Magwe, 4-2, yesterday at the Youth Training Centre in Yangon, Myanmar.
Darryl Roberts loomed large for Global. The forward scored twice in a span of a minute late in the match to turn the tide in Global’s favor after Magwe took a shock lead in the first half.
Global now has 12 points with one game left in Group F. Johor Darul Ta’zim are in second with 10 points after a 3-0 win over Boeung Ket Angkor in the other group match.
Global came into the match undermanned with only four named substitutes on the bench. Moreover, flight issues outside the club’s control hampered the team’s preparation with the final contingent only arriving in Myanmar the night before the match.
The first half saw Global miss several chances to go ahead. Azkal Dennis Villanueva had two chances in the 23rd and 25th minutes, but both were off target. Shu Sasaki came the closest in the 36th minute but saw his effort hit the post and out.
Disaster struck for Global just a minute later. Naing Naing Kyaw found the back of the net for the hosts to take a 1-0 half-time lead.
Coach Toshiaki Imai adjusted right at the start of the second half as Global chased the one-goal deficit. Marco Casambre and Paolo Salenga came on to replace Paul Mulders and Germaine Agustien.
The adjustments allowed Global to press on for the equalizer. Salenga had the chance to draw level in the 67th minute unmarked, but sent his effort over.
Global finally struck gold in the 72nd minute. Matthew Hartmann found space in the box to send a shot in but was blocked. However, Hikaru Minegishi was left free in the middle to slot home the rebound.
Ten minutes later, the turnaround was complete and Global were two goals ahead. Roberts netted in the 82nd and 83rd minutes to put his side in the driver’s seat. Sasaki made amends for his missed effort in the first half with a fourth goal in the 89th minute to cap off a scintillating performance.
Magwe scored a second consolation goal from a Naing Lin Tun free kick right before full-time, but Global had the last laugh as the win put them closer to a spot to the zonal semifinals.
Global face Cambodian side Boeung Ket Angkor in the final Group F match on May 3 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.– CAL