Local Football

Mendiola win midfield war, beat Maharlika

The afternoon match in the final full matchday of the 2020 Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways was a doozy as Mendiola FC 1991 and Maharlika-Manila FC battled tooth and nail to avoid ending up with the wooden spoon.

Both teams started off slowly and almost methodically despite some earlyattempts to break after mistakes in possession, testing to see who would crack first. In the end, Maharlika were the first ones to blink, Braves captain Ashley Flores finding Aron Altiche on a great run at the other wing for a cracking shot from outside the box that beat Maharlika keeper Henri Bandeken Fong, bounced off the crossbar and bounced off the goal line, with striker Jon Aaron Nebreja running well and sticking the ball through the net with a leaping header in the 25th minute. Maharlika woke up after that goal however and pushed hard for an equalizer before halftime to no avail.

In the second half, things got feisty as Maharlika attempted to win wars on two fronts to find an equalizer while repulsing Mendiola’s pressure on the other end, though as time wore on the Braves would win this battle and start throwing waves of attackers on, with captain Flores being an absolute menace in pressing Maharlika defenders, in one instance winning the ball just outside their box, skinning two defenders and just barely missing the back of the net. He would get his rewards though, slotting in from a mazy run from midfielder Stephen Appiah in the early seconds of stoppage time to seal the 3 points and generate much-needed momentum before the final match of this campaign againdt Stallion-Laguna.

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