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Phil Younghusband's early goal lifts Loyola over Ceres in physical match

From Loyola's Facebook page
By Ivan Saldajeno

Phil Younghusband delivered the only goal of the game as Loyola escaped a physical and entertaining affair with Ceres in the nightcap of the PFF-Smart Club Championship doubleheader at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City.

Younghusband drilled the go-ahead goal for Loyola in the 16th minute as the club held on against a tough Ceres squad, which was reduced to ten men over a half-hour in.

The referee showed a red card on Arnie Pasinabo at the 33rd minute as he gave a hard foul on Eddie Mallari.

But Patrick Reichelt provided a needed boost for the defending champion off the bench as he threatened to score off a header in the 40th minute.

A minute later, Oladipo Okunaiya almost gave Ceres too as his free kick just went over the bar.

The defense also manned up as Louie Casas beautifully saved a Younghusband header that could have stretched Loyola's lead before halftime.

Casas also stopped an early attack by Loyola led by Roxy Dorlas seconds into the second half.

A minute later, Kim Sang-Min tried to drill in a shot from inside the box, but Tomas Trigo stopped Kim's potential game-tying goal.

Trigo and the rest of the Loyola defense also stayed in form as they stopped two threats from Nate Burkey.

Loyola had its best chance of going 2-0 up as Younghusband got past the Ceres defense and shot an attempt from the left elbow that hit the top post. Loyola got the ball back, but the follow-up was stopped by Casas.

Jeffrey Christaens failed to put Ceres on the board as he misfired two free kicks with seven minutes left in regulation.

Angelo Marasigan made two tries five minutes later, but Loyola's backline stopped the shots.

Ceres had one last crack to draw the match as Marwin Angeles attempted in stoppage time. His shot, however, went too high, and the club failed to make a decent shot at the final whistle.

The send-off to Pasinabo was not the only feisty moment in the match as a bunch of fouls and bookings followed.

At the 41st minute, Loyola midfielder Roxy Dorlas saw yellow for a foul while jostling for position.

In the second half, Loyola's stars, Younghusband, his brother James, Joaco CaƱas, and Anton Del Rosario also found themselves getting slapped with bookings.

Loyola moved to the top of Group A with six points as Trigo, who kept a clean sheet against Laos two nights back, remained without a conceded goal entering its crucial Monday match Kaya featuring O.J. Porteria, Kenshiro Daniels, and Jovin Bedic.

Ceres, on the other hand, dropped to third place as Kaya, which won earlier in the day to Laos, owns the goal difference tiebreaker.

The Ceres loss opened a window of hope for Laos. The UFL Division 2 side, however, must hope that Loyola beats Kaya and wallop the national champion, which was promoted to Division 1, in the nightcap.