The 2020 Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways kicked off with a tightly contested match between the cagey Azkals Development Team and the erstwhile defending League & Cup holders in United City FC today, and if the rainbow in the sky that illuminated proceedings is any foreshadowing, football in this country will make it out of the pandemic alright.
The Gold & White pressed early, looking to exploit the low block the Young Azkals were putting up, and despite several attempts at making it through the line, the boys in red were able to repulse the waves, at least until the 17th minute when OJ Porteria skied a volley from the top of the box after a fluffed clearance.
From there, the game settled, with the Young Azkals getting pinned back more and more, while UCFC kept running and moving and passing the ball, finally getting the breakthrough in the 25th minute as Mike Ott played a ball from his brother Manny at the top of the box and stroked a sweet volley past ADT netminder Quincy Kameraad to take the lead.
Meanwhile, the ADT’s best chance came in the 40th minute as Kainoa Bailey, who gave the UCFC backline fits the whole game with his pace and driving runs, played a freekick dangerously close to the UCFC goal, where Jarvey Gayoso ended up playing a second ball offside.
The second half was a tense affair, with UCFC attempting and failing to secure an insurance goal and the Young Azkals only getting some impetus late on when Manny Ott received his marching orders for a bad tackle.
UNITED CITY – Pinthus(GK), Kane, Mike Ott(25′), Marañon, Manny Ott,Odawara, Porteria, Schrock(C), Mendy, Dutosme(Jarvis), Minegishi
AZKALS DEVELOPMENT TEAM – Kammeraad(GK), Custodio, Diano, Gayoso, Angeles(Marzan), Lyngbo, Rontini, Gallantes(Ocampo), Bailey, Dorin, Ouano
Yellow cards: Bailey(ADT), Porteria(UCFC), Mike Ott(UCFC)
Red cards: Manny Ott(UCFC)
Photo credits: Philippines Football League