UFL Cup Matchday 5 scenarios

With a win against Nomads, Pasargad remains in the hunt for a quarterfinal spot, although the task is a tough one. Linus Escandor/UFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

OUR lead football writer sought me for help regarding the potential situations in the UFL Cup heading to the last three playdates of the group stage.

So far, six of the eight quarterfinal seats have been secured with the last two, both in Group B, being mathematically (with some miracles of epic proportions) up for grabs. In fact, let's first take a look at the wildcard race.

Loyola and Green Archers are tied for third with six points with the former slightly ahead on goal difference, while Pasargad is behind with three points. Pasargad's GD, however, is where we will kick off.

Pasargad has a dubious -18 goal difference ahead of a rare Friday night showdown with GAU.

Loyola, on the other hand, takes on also-ran Nomads on the final night of the eliminations on Saturday.

Pasargad must convincingly beat GAU on Friday to enter the Elite 8, and when I say "convincingly", I mean that Pasargad should win by at least an 11-goal margin.

If Pasargad guns for third, the club must also hope that Loyola loses to Nomads.

The problem, however, is that Pasargad and Nomads have been playing subpar in the UFL Cup so far (Pasargad only came to the playoff picture after a 4-0 rout of Nomads on Saturday), so the chance of the aforementioned scenarios happening is very close to zero.

Now, off to a realistic one. Loyola and GAU can actually tie Global for second place with nine points at the end of the group stages.

Global has the toughest job on Matchday 5 as it battles Ceres on Thursday night.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, that is, Pasargad and Nomads scoring upsets, either Loyola or GAU can finish second place on goal difference or on goals scored.

For Loyola, the sum of its winning margin and Ceres' winning margin must be at least five (e.g. Loyola must win by at least three and Ceres must win by at least two) and that its winning margin must either be equal or better than that of GAU to finish second.

For GAU, the sum of its winning margin and Ceres' winning margin must be at least six (e.g. GAU must win by at least three and Ceres must win by at least three) and that its winning margin must be two more than Loyola's to finish second.

Looking at the Pasargad-GAU and Loyola-Nomads matches on paper, the said scenarios are attainable. Take note, however, that Global can secure the second seed with a draw.

In fact, Global can even finish first if it beats Ceres by at least nine goals. But knowing that both Global and Ceres are powerhouse squads, only a miracle can make this happen.

On the other hand, while the Group A quarterfinalists are already known, the seeding is still to be decided.

Kaya faces Forza on Thursday, Voltes battles Agila on Friday, and Stallion takes on Laos on Saturday.

Like the case of GAU, Loyola, and Global, three clubs can end up tied on points in second place. Forza, however, must beat Kaya convincing to snatch second place. To be precise, at least a nine-goal winning margin will suffice as long as Voltes only beats Agila by four or less.

Now, a potential identical tie between Forza and Voltes can take place, i.e., Forza and Voltes are tied with nine points, a +4 GD, and the same number of goals scored. The head-to-head tiebreaker will come to play, and Voltes, by virtue of a 2-1 win on Feb. 13, will finish second.

Another way for Voltes to steal second is if the club beats Agila by six or more and that Forza can only beat Kaya by eight or less.

Anything other than a Kaya loss will give the club the second or even the top seed if it beats Forza by at least two and Stallion loses to Laos or if it beats Forza by one and Stallion loses to Laos by at least two.

Realistically, however, Kaya and Stallion are expected to win and the Voltes-Agila match could be a close one.

Stallion and Ceres can lock in the top seeds with at least a draw.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno