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Jeepney clobbers Laos to close out UFL Cup group stages

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Manila Jeepney banked on a second half rally to hold off Laos, 5-2, in the final match of the UFL Cup group stage at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.

Goals from Khosro Siahmazgi and Eric Giganto midway through the period helped Jeepney pull away from Laos after the Division 2 side threatened to pull an upset against the top tier club at the start of the half.

Jeepney led, 2-1, at halftime, but Laos equalized two minutes into the second half as Patrik Franksson took advantage of a defensive lapse and scored a close-range shot.

Siahmazgi, however, scored Jeepney's go-ahead goal off a long free kick in the 57th minute as Oliver Moreno lost grip of his save and found the ball going inside the goal line.

Eric Giganto then slipped past the Laos backline two minutes later to make it 4-2.

Late substitute Michael Menzi sealed the win with a goal just before the final whistle.

Arthur Kouassi drew first blood for Jeepney in the 25th minute before Aaron Altiche tied the match two minutes later. Gary Epesso put Jeepney up, 2-1, five minutes from halftime.

Play was halted in the 75th minute as lights at the said venue fluctuated. Action resumed as the lighting returned to normal condition 15 minutes later.

The win put Jeepney in second place in Group D behind Global, while Laos finished in third just above fellow Division 2 club Forza, which secured the last seat in the knockout stages with a 2-2 draw with Nomads earlier in the night.