Voltes nears UFL promotion with 3-1 rout of Socceroo

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--JP Voltes moved closer to earning a UFL Division 1 spot with a 3-1 win against Socceroo in the opener of their two-game promotional playoff series at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

Tatsuya Nakamura opened the scoring for the Division 2 side as he drilled the ball past Baba Sampana off a Dominic Del Rosario corner in the sixth minute.

Del Rosario then found Mikko Mabanag in a good attacking position in the 26th minute, and the Ateneo striker did not waste the assist effort by striking the ball past Sampana for Voltes' 2-0 lead.

Daniel Matsunaga, who missed much of Socceroo's Division 1 campaign because of his Pinoy Big Brother commitments, put Socceroo on the board in the 28th minute off an Alex Reche assist.

Del Rosario sealed the win just before halftime as he struck a goal although Feb Baya had a touch of the ball.

Voltes then played a stifling defense on Socceroo in the second half to stop the latter from bouncing back.

Both teams will play one more time on Tuesday night at the same venue with Socceroo needing to win by three goals or more to retain its place in Division 1.

Voltes, on the other hand, can officially join Laos in the promoted teams list with a win, a draw, or if Socceroo wins by only one.

A two-goal lead by Socceroo by fulltime in the return leg will send the series to extra time and possibly a penalty shootout.