Inching closer to history: A look at Global's pursuit of the UFL Double

With at least a draw with Laos, Global can now finally taste a rare honor once denied to them five years ago. (file)
By Kevin Estrada

Global vs Laos
3:00 PM
Rizal Memorial Stadium


That is how Global has come closer to a rare feat once denied to them five years ago. They have won the cup already, and they were on the cusp on an undefeated season when they face the Airmen, but they could not find their second goal as they left UMak falling short of the title despite not losing a match all season long.

But not anymore. With at least a stalemate with the former Division two titlists on Sunday, they will all but seal the imminent Double and assume their place in Philippine football immortality with Philippine Air Force and Stallion as the only clubs who copped their Cup and League at the same season.

For Dan Palami, it was a near completion of their quest for redemption from a roller-coaster last season, in which they suffered a host of tragedies that culminated in their elimination from the Cup in a controversial manner that doomed any chances of them of returning to Asian football.

With that in mind, the railway boss had to let go of his vital cogs that gave them the goals, the stops and silverware they give to the club. The gap made by those such as Yu Hoshide, Daisuke Sato, Roland Sadia and Mark Hartmann were filled in by Milan Nikolic, Omid Nazari and Ivan Petrovic that also gave them the much needed boost when the going gets tough.

Even Leigh Manson have to take a backseat after winning the cup, as Global brought in legendary journeyman John Burridge to man the sidelines midway through the league season as they are dead serious in playing not just in the AFC Cup, but in the more prestigious Asian Champions League, where in the likes of Evergrande, Al Hilal and the Wanderers are waiting for them.

Global are dead serious in playing in the AFC Champions League, bringing in journeyman John Burridge in their quest for a Double.
And they did. After blasting their way to the Cup where they only let in only three goals and only lost once on a forfeit, Global went on a tear in the league, winning their first 10 matches en route to their 15 match unbeaten run before Hoshide, Yanagawa and JP Voltes put that record streak into a screeching halt last September 21.

Putting their search for an unbeaten season to rest, last week's win over Stallion, themselves Double titlists in 2013, put them one hand on tying with Kaya's three league crowns but at the same time, having the bragging rights as the winningest side in the last six years of the league, having also annexed their second Cup earlier in April.

With the draw at least, the goalkeeping legend can now finally get the wish that he wanted apart from probably getting his very first silverware as a football manager: to play Ceres two weeks later as the newly-crowned champions, twenty-one years after setting the record for being the oldest player in the Premier League.

Barring any major upset from Laos, this was surely Global's game for the taking.

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