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Late Sanchez goal sends Cebu to PFL final; Negros repeats over Makati

Down goes the top seed as fourth-seeded Cebu heads to the PFL final. Glen Lopez/PFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Having to essentially play back-to-back road games because of the unavailability of the Cebu City Sports Complex for the first leg, fourth-seeded Global Cebu had its back against the wall versus top-seeded Meralco Manila.

A late goal in the second leg got the Visayan side out of the woods.

Rufo Sanchez silenced the Rizal Memorial Stadium as his late goal forced a 1-1 draw in the second game of their PFL semifinal series on Saturday night.

The draw, however, means Cebu's 2-1 first leg win in its credited home game was the difference of the two-legged affair as the club clinched one of the two spots in the championship game next Saturday via a 3-2 aggregate win.

Manila was actually just nine minutes away from preserving its top seed as the club pressed Cebu defensively right after Curt Dizon put the designated host club, which had the away goal advantage, ahead in the third minute of play.

But Sanchez's 85th minute goal off a miscue from Tyler Matas forced the 1-1 deadlock.

Manila still had one final crack to force extra time, but Simon Greatwich dished out a bad pass with just seconds left in the four-minute second half stoppage time, passing the ball to nobody as he thought a teammate will try to go through the left side of the goal.

Cebu will take on Negros, which took a 2-1 win in its own semis Game 2 against Makati to seal the series win, in the final.

Iain Ramsay's second half goal kept Negros afloat after Woody Ugarte's late first half goal provided some scare as the club won, 3-1, on aggregate.

Bienve MaraƱon struck first for Negros as he headed in a 30th minute goal.

Ugarte, however, tied the match--and in the process giving Makati a crucial away goal--as he scored a 43rd minute putback after Miguel Tanton's free kick was saved by Roland Muller only to end up at the feet of Ugarte.

Ramsay sealed the win with a 73rd minute attack from way out.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno