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Archers produce comeback of the season with 3-3 draw against Stallion

By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--Green Archers United bucked a 0-3 deficit in the first 34 minutes before producing a fifteen-minute fightback between two halves to force Stallion into an exciting 3-3 draw in a pulsating United Football League encounter on Saturday night at Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Both teams looked to bounce back from disastrous defeats as GAU suffered the heaviest league defeat since 2011 as they bowed down 0-7 to table toppers Ceres on Wednesday. Stallion, meanwhile absorbed a shocking 1-3 loss to Loyola last week.

Dolfo Alicante tweaked his line-up again by putting Paolo Pascual back between the sticks and giving the armband to right back Ronnie Aguisanda.

But Ernie Nierras’ wards were there to pound more misery on the Archers as Milan Arends draw first blood in the 24th minute when he received Jordan Mintah’s cross to put a header away of Pascual’s reach.

Seven minutes later, Fitch Arboleda doubled the lead for the 2013 double winners as he rose high for another header.

Mintah turned goal scorer in the 34th minute when he received a cross from Serge Kaole as the ball was heading towards the goal line.

But reprieve was given to GAU in the second minute of first half stoppage time as referee Linjun Talaver points to the spot when Kaole brought down Jovanie Simpron in the box. Robert Lopez Mendy converted his penalty kick, his tenth league goal, to reduce the deficit to two. That penalty kick was the momentum the Archers needed as they became the aggressors when play resumed.

The forward connection of Mendy and Jhan-Jhan Melliza bore fruit in the 54th minute when the latter latched on the former’s feed to blast the ball past Johann Noetzel.

And before the hour struck, Mendy completed his brace when rebounded Melliza’s crossbar hit to restore parity at 3-3.

The last half hour of the match became a moment of near-goals and spectacular saves for both clubs, but Pascual became the man of that stretch for his two key saves, first by stopping Simone Rota’s free kick in the 77th minute and denying Mintah on a Stallion counterattack four minutes later.

There would be no last minute heartbreak for the Archers like they experienced last April 18 when referee Talaver blew the full time whistle to cap off their improbable comeback. The result would not affect any changes for either sides in the table, as Stallion and Archers remain in fifth and sixth respectively.