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United Clark returns with crucial road win as Stallion Laguna's comeback falls short anew

By Ivan Saldajeno

BINAN--United Clark announced its return to the PFL after a prolonged break, staggering Stallion Laguna on the road, 4-2, on Saturday night at the Binan Football Stadium.

United Clark still showed might even if they were absent for quite some time.

However, Stallion Laguna's comeback bid, although falling short again, somehow gave the defending champs a reality check ahead of next week's battle against league-leading Kaya Iloilo.

Kenshiro Daniels was on a mission early, first testing Michael Asong with a flicker that luckily for the former San Beda star hit the top post before returning to fair play.

Daniels finally scored one over Asong in the 11th minute off a header from a corner kick to put United Clark ahead.

Asong bounced back with a bunch of great saves, but Stallion Laguna couldn't capitalize on the chances they had.

Amirbek Juraboev gave United Clark a 2-0 lead with a 51st-minute shot from close range.

Ricki Sendra then slotted one in the 64th minute as he caught Stallion Laguna's backline napping on a counterattack.

Mark Hartmann capped United Clark's dominance with a 72nd-minute strike off another counterattack.

However, Toto Bedia spoiled Anthony Pinthus' season debut with an 81st-minute goal off Abou Sy's through-ball pass to put Stallion Laguna on the board.

Bryan Ybanez made Stallion Laguna's 2nd goal possible by razzling and dazzling through the left side of the box and forcing JJ Robertson to an own goal.

The win put United Clark, which missed its Week 4 match against the Azkals Development Team due to a flu outbreak and took its scheduled bye week in Week 5, on 10 points after four matches with three wins and one draw.

Stallion Laguna, on the other hand, lost for the third straight time after a 2-0 start and fell to fourth place in the league table following Cebu's 5-1 win over Maharlika Manila.

Cebu bounced back from missing out on a win against the ADT with a masterful performance against Maharlika Manila despite conceding an early goal in a simultaneous kickoff at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona.

Gerald Facturanan shocked the Carmona crowd with a second-minute goal to put Maharlika Manila ahead.

Chima Uzoka, however, tied the match in the 27th minute after following up on his first attempt that only hit the post.

Arda Cinkir then put Cebu up front with a 31st-minute header off JB Borlongan's cross.

Uzoka added a second goal for Cebu in the 57th minute to make it 3-1, while Mert Altinoz converted a free kick from the left flank in the 64th minute to make it 4-1.

Marius Kore finished the job for Cebu with an 88th-minute goal off yet another free-kick conversion.

Cebu is now up to third place with eight points on two wins, two draws, and one loss, while Maharlika Manila ended the first round of the season winless in six tries.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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