Anzures rues late Davao meltdown leading to Laguna's equalizer

Patrick Deyto was aghast at Davao Aguilas' defence as Stallion Laguna celebrate their late equalizer. Art Enriquez/Stallion Laguna FC
By Ivan Saldajeno

BI√ĎAN -- Mel Anzures could only lament in disbelief that his Davao Aguilas team fizzled when it mattered the most.

Davao seemed to be in control defensively, keeping an aggressive Laguna side at bay for all but 80 seconds of their PFL match at the Binan Football Stadium on Saturday.

However, at the third minute of stoppage time, particularly at the 2:40 mark of the added minutes, Fitch Arboleda converted a Carlo Polli free kick that stunned Davao, which thought Wesley Dos Santos' 38th minute goal was enough to give the club the win. Instead, both clubs settled for the 1-1 draw.

[Related Story: Late Arboleda goal salvages draw between Laguna, Davao]

"For 85 minutes, we've been holding. A win was supposed to happen, but sad to say, it's a draw," Anzures, Davao's chief tactician, told Dugout Philippines after the match. "As a team, we want to win that much."

According to him, all it took was one defensive lapse.

"There's a mistake in the defender. They didn't even bother Fitch," Anzures rued the crucial play.

Should Davao hold on, the club would have been within two points of idle Iloilo for second place, and even if Negros already clinched the league title on Wednesday night, getting second place still means a lot in the race for AFC Cup participation especially if Negros also goes on to win the Copa Paulino Alcantara starting September.

Instead, Davao remains two games behind in the race for second.

Worse, Iloilo has two matches at hand, which means while Davao is still in the thick of things, its fate is now slowly getting out of its hands.

"This time, it's difficult for us because it's a draw," Anzures further lamented. "We're close, but now it's still the same."

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