Meralco Manila Turn Away Ilocos United, 2-1; JPV Marikina Beats Davao Aguilas

Photo from FC Meralco Manila

Meralco Manila Turn Away Ilocos United, 2-1; JPV Marikina Beats Davao Aguilas

FC Meralco Manila bucked a poor start to get their second straight win in the Philippines Football League following a 2-1 win over Ilocos United FC yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Australian Tahj Minniecon was the catalyst for the Sparks’ comeback after going a goal down in the first half. The winger provided two assists to hand Meralco the three points and hold a firm grip on first place.

However, the visitors proved to be a side not to be underestimated. Graham Caygill snatched an early goal for Ilocos in the 13th minute after the forward delivered a close ranged volley.

Tyler Matas equalized for the Sparks five minutes later. The left back made an inspired run from the left wing and was found by Minniecon with a timely pass to put him through on goal. The first half ended at 1-1.

The Sparks took the lead for good in the 52nd minute. Minniecon was once again involved in the buildup. The Australian was on the end of an inviting pass from Phil Younghusband before serving a cross that was headed in by the well-placed Jake Morallo.

Ilocos had chances late but the Sparks held on, frustrating the visitors with their tireless defending.

Meralco Manila coach Aris Caslib hailed the mentality of the team that led to their second win in the League.

“(The) first goal showed a very strong rebound mentality of the team,” said Caslib. “However, we still have to develop our killer instinct (in front of goal).”

On the other side, Ilocos United coach Ian Gillan looked on the positives from the match. Angelo Marasigan, John Kanayama, and Dominic Del Rosario were vital threats to the Sparks’ defense.

“I think we played quite well,” said Gillan. “We produced (plenty of) opportunities in the game.”

In the other PFL match, Davao Aguilas FC fell to JPV Marikina FC, 3-2, at home. Takashi Odawara broke the deadlock in the second minute before Daniel De Bruycker equalized six minutes later. Marikina took the lead in the 20th minute from Robert Canedo and Takumi Uesato extended it to 3-1. De Bruycker scored from the spot late on to give the home side something to cheer about. The Aguilas’ opening match was the best-attended PFL match so far with 4.384 attendees in the stands. — CAL

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