Air Force Trounce Meralco in UFL Finals 2-0
It was a memorable UFL finals fought between the Philippine Azkals’ greats. On the side of the Air Force Phoenix there was the duo Chieffy Caligdong and Ian Araneta pitted against the Younghusband brother’s James and Phil with Mark Hartmann for the Loyola Meralco Sparks. But, at the end of the day the Airmen remained soaring Saturday with a 2-0 victory.
Araneta scored a left-booted shot from inside the box from a set-up penetration from Calingdong in the game’s 38th minute that gave the army men a 1-0 cushion. Yanti Barsales then sealed the game with a shot on the 90th minute of the game to end the game on their favor.On the defensive side Air Force goal keeper Edmundo Mercado nullified all of the Sparks attempt at goal.
Mercalco have had many good opportunities at the goal including a 53rd minute effort from James Younghusband. James’s header off a cornet kick from Hartmann went in the Airmen’s goal only for the referee to call a controversial “no-goal” decision because of a wrongly placed ball off the corner. The goal could have tied the score at 1-1.
Another chance came for the Sparks at the 86th and 87th minute of the game but could not kept their composure. Both Alex Espenar’s header and a follow-up shot hit the cross bar. They quickly regained possession but Phil Younghusband’s last minute point-blank effort was blocked by Mercado who used his feet to deflect the ball.
Air Force made a steal off Meralco’s John Paul Merida and Bersales made his 20 yard kick at goal on the dying moments of the game to secure their win. Barsales was awarded the Golden Boot Award (MVP), Mercado caught the Golden Glove Award as best Goalie and Phil Younghusband ran away Golden Ball Awardee as best striker of the 2011 UFL finals.