Sparks buck surprise first half woes to wallop Growling Tigers

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In its final match in the group stages of the UFL Cup, UST stunned Loyola with a stifling first half defense and even had two huge offensive chances.

In the next 45 minutes, Loyola easily found a way.

The Sparks put on a second half barrage to blast the Growling Tigers, 7-0, on Sunday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Graham Caygill put Loyola on top just seconds into the final frame as he went wide open for the goal.

UST still put up a defensive effort in the next 29 minutes before conceding a Napo Bustillo goal to double Loyola's lead. Bustillo then sparked a late flurry by Loyola by completing a brace in the 82nd minute.

Late substitute Phil Younghusband wowed the crowd two minutes later as he fired a shot from near halfcourt that went past UST's keeper Zaldy Abraham.

Tahj Minniecon and Charlie Beaton respectively scored in the 85th and the 86 minutes before Younghusband completed his own brace with a short-range shot that Abraham failed to save.

The win pushed Loyola to first place in Group C with ten points, edging Stallion, a 4-0 winner over Voltes earlier in the night, on goal difference.

UST, on the other hand, finished the group stages with only one point earned through a draw with Mendiola on Tuesday night but trailed the latter on goal difference.

The Growling Tigers, however, still have a chance of making the knockout stages pending the result of a Tuesday night game between Nomads and Forza.