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Meralco MNL buck early deficit to snatch win over Ilocos

Tahj Minniecon shone in Meralco Manila's first home stand, with his two assists help the Sparks pip Ilocos United.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- Meralco Manila bucked an early first half deficit before turning back stubborn Ilocos Utd side to go back-to-back wins in their PFL campaign Saturday afternoon in Rizal Memorial.

Holding their nerve in their first home stand, the Sparks eke out of 2-1 win in front of 540 supporters who turned up on free admission.

With most of the lineup made up of former Sparks players, forward Graham Caygill give the visiting Northerners a shock lead in the 13th minute on a tightly squeezed effort.

But it will not last long as Tyler Matas equalized five minutes later after overlapping from his usual left back position to convert on a Tahj Minniecon pass.

The home side took all three points seven minutes after the restart with Minniecon provided his second assist, picking out Jake Morallo for a bouncing header past Baba Sampana to make it seven different goalscorers for the Sparks, a proof of their balanced and lethal goalscoring instincts.

Although Ilocos dominated play the rest of the way, the capital club's backline held firm to gain sole possession of the league to open their second week of the inaugural season.

"We expected a tough match, primarily psychological, because most players of Ilocos used to play for Loyola [Meralco]. Something that we expect but not until the final whistle," a delighted Aris Caslib said after the match.

Minniecon admitted that the heat of the capital was a huge factor in the slow pace of the game.

"It definitely plays a part. A lot of players find it hard to cope physically," the Australian commented, noting that the temperatures in Adriatico reached more than 35 degrees when it kicked off.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada
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