16th ABOITIZ FOOTBALL CUP: Leylam, UC BRO to dispute men’s title
By Mars G. Alison
A new Men’s Open champion will be declared today in the 16th Aboitiz Football Cup after Leylam FC and UC BRO both bucked the odds and advanced to Sunday’s final round at the Aboitiz Sports Field in Subangdaku, Mandaue City.
The championship games will start at 8 a.m. with the match for the 38-above while the battle for the title of the U-18 and the men’s will be held in the afternoon.
The Cebu Football Association is adding spice to the final day of the tournament by raffling off tickets to the April 27 friendly between the Philippine Azkals and the Malaysia Tigers that will be held in Cebu.
Come from behind goals gave Leylam FC the first finals ticket after squeaking past Samba FC, 2-1, while UC BRO advanced to the final after booting out defending champions Cebu Queen City United (CQCU) FC, 2-0.
Leylam FC wasn’t off to a good start after an own goal by Joshua Fegidero gave Samba FC a 1-0 lead.
Leylam FC, however, did not lose hope and was eventually able to come back with a goal in the 74th minute from Saleh Bagherzadegan.
Bagherzadegan slipped past the defense and lost the goalie on a fake after picking up a through pass from Epifanio Ynot.
Three minutes later, Oliver “Bingbing” Colina was in the right place at the right time to score the winning goal for Leylam when he picked up a pass, again from Ynot, who won the ball in a scramble from the wing.
Leylam FC coach Eleazar Toledo said that adjustments from the semifinals to the championships will definitely be different but one thing’s for sure, they will be maximizing their players to play not only in their position but also to be ready to play a different position.
“It will be a tactical movement, as I have said with the boys, stay compact in defense, draw the defense line, and win the ball if it’s played behind the imaginary line, attack in the wing, and play ground except if it comes from crosses. If given a chance to hold the ball in the attacking 3rd, then combine, and look for holes to take chances in shooting. Patience, communicate and fighting spirit are the words to be instilled in the minds of the boys. Just give up when the ref blows the whistle signalling that the game is over,” Toledo said.
Aside from the Men’s Open title, also to be contested are the Boys Under 18 title which will see Springdale going up against Don Bosco Technology Center; and the 38 Above championship battle between KN Ferraren and Jeh United.
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