|Maharlika Manila looks to defeat another powerhouse squad on Tuesday night. PFL (file photo)|
MANILA--Newcomer Maharlika Manila seeks a giant size upset when it clashes with United City FC on Tuesday night as the Philippines Football League resumes at PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Thanks to two second half goals from substitutes Jose Montelibano and Jeremy Theuer, Maharlika stunned Stallion Laguna FC, 2-1, last Saturday for a historic win for the club formed just three months ago.
But the 8 p.m. clash against a star-studded UCFC will be a tougher challenge for coach Roxy Dorlas’ side which is hoping to keep up with the leaders in the six-team, single round competition.
The rivalry between UCFC captain Stephan Schrock and Maharlika owner Anton del Rosario serves as an intriguing subplot to the battle as the two teammates in the national team have been going back and forth with their comments on social media.
Nonetheless, UCFC interim coach Frank Muescan expects his side to continue improving after putting six goals past Mendiola last Saturday.
“The team is adjusting well,” said Muescan. “What’s good about the team is we have a lot of variety and versatility with our attack.”
Maharlika coach Roxy Dorlas said his side’s performance in the win against Stallion gives them plenty of encouragement for the duel against UCFC.
“I think we saw in the last match that we can put together some good moments and opportunities if we work together,” said Dorlas.
The former national team player is expected to come up with defensive schemes in trying to contain the attacking pair of Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon and Senegalese partner Robert Mendy. Marañon delivered a hattrick while Mendy added a brace against Mendiola.
The top player in the suspended AFC Cup with 35 goals, Maranon scored a hat trick while Mendy added a brace in the rout of the Mendiola booters.
Kaya-Iloilo FC tackles Stallion-Laguna FC, with coach Ernie Nierras back in harness, at 4:30 p.m.
Mendiola FC and the Azkals Development Team will be gunning for their first win in the 9 a.m. first match.
“Finally I am inside the bubble with my boys,” declared Nierras on Monday in a post on the squad’s official Facebook page, which should give his charges a huge boost after the Maharlika defeat.
The wards of Japanese coach Yu Yoshide have shown they won’t be bullied by anyone in pulling off similar 1-0 wins over Maharlika Manila and the ADT squads, respectively, without abandoning the discipline and focus that have been the side’s hallmarks.
Nierras and his players will likewise be performing with a sense of urgency, knowing that a second straight loss would virtually push them out of contention.
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