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Melliza stands tall as Archers draw Stallion once again

Green Archers United forward Jhanjhan Melliza fired the equalizer as GAU drew Stallion for the second consecutive league match. Czeasar Dancel/UFL
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA-- Green Archers United clawed back from a goal down to frustrate Stallion anew with another stalemate early Sunday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Jhan-Jhan Melliza's 66th minute strike cancelled substitute Ashley Flores' opener to share the spoils for the second straight league match between them, as well as foiling Stallion's plot to overtake Kaya in the fifth spot at the end of the first round.

The heat became a crucial factor the entire afternoon, as officials called for four cooling breaks as temperatures reaching as high as 33 degrees.

Despite having more possession, the Archers were on the backfoot the most of the match, as Ernest Nierras' men had more attempts, outshooting them by 10 but could not find most of the chances into the back of the net.

After a lethargic first half for both sides, it was Stallion who scored first four minutes into the restart, with the substitute latching on a Joshua Beloya feed to slot the ball home into the empty net.

However, the former FEU stalwart stood tall in the land of the tall Stallion defence seventeen minutes later, taking the ball away from Christian Nana and fired a right-footed strike that Ref Cuaresma failed to palm it away properly for the equalizer.

A livid Nierras clearly showed his disappointment after the match.

"There's a lot of chances, we cannot convert. We wasted it," the temperamental manager said as he talked to the media.

In contrast, Dolfo Alicante was in a good mood when asked about the result, saying it was an improvement from their last match, letting in seven Ceres goals in a blowout loss.

"Ang problema namin from the last game, yung midfield namin ay di nagtatrabaho," the former FEU boss said, as he stressed that Paul Salahit and Nico Macapal needed more exposure to fill the gap made by the departure of Robert Lopez-Mendy.

Alicante concluded that they will utilize the transfer window to find a way to finally beat Stallion in league play in which they failed to do since the latter were promoted to top-flight four years ago.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada