Club Football: AFC Cup previews, UFL Cup spoiler alerts
UFL Cup semifinal telecast
Global vs Stallion followed by
Ceres La Salle vs Kaya
7 p.m. Sunday, April 10
Aksyon TV (Ch 59 on Sky, 78 on Destiny, and 1 on Cignal)
Ceres La Salle vs Tampines Rovers
6:45 pm, Tuesday, April 12
LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Ch. 23
Balestier Khalsa vs Kaya FC
Next-day telecast, Wednesday, April 13 time TBA
on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Ch. 23
MANILA, Philippines – SPOILER ALERT: Information about the UFL Cup semis is coming in this article. If you wish to watch Sunday's telecast without knowing the result of the matches, you'll have to stop reading in a few paragraphs.
It's a pretty big week for Pinoy Club football. Last Wednesday, April 6, the UFL Cup semis were played and will be aired on Sunday night. More on that later.
Meanwhile, the focus on Ceres and Kaya will be their AFC Cup matches on Tuesday, April 12.
In the AFC Cup, Group E Ceres currently sit second in the 4-team table on 5 points from a win and two draws. Only the top two teams get berths in the knockout stages.
Ceres are unbeaten, but need to get a win versus group leaders Tampines. The 3 points will vault them into the top spot in the group with 8 points. After Tuesday Ceres will play a road game against Malaysian club Selangor then a home match versus Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi of Bangladesh in May.
The AFC Cup group stage is double round-robin home and away, and in Singapore last month the busmen grabbed a late equalizer for a fine 1-1 draw versus Tampines. In competitions like this, a point on the road is always welcome.
Tampines have two excellent foreign players in Canadian Jordan Webb and Premier League veteran Jermaine Pennant. The two combined for the winner in the Rover's most recent win in the Singapore S.League, 1-0 over Balestier Khalsa.
In the first game between the two sides, Pennant unspooled a free kick that was expertly saved by Ceres goalie Michael Louie Casas. The former Azkal has rebounded well from the blunder against Selangor in the 2-2 draw in February with excellent performances in the next two games.
Ceres have the benefit of two outstanding Spanish attackers in Bienvenido Marañon and Adrian Gallardo. Marañon operates from the left win while Gallardo is a quintessential center forward who can score with either foot or with his head. Gallardo is fifth on the list of 2016 AFC goalscorers with 4 goals.
Kaya is in a similar spot in their AFC Cup group. After an opening loss in Hong Kong to Kitchee, the LBC-sponsored side won back-to-back home games against Balestier Khalsa and New Radiant last month. Their 6 points leaves them on the summit of Group F. A win on Tuesday away to Balestier Khalsa in Singapore could help sew up a round-of-16 spot as early as now, barring a late meltdown. Kaya host Kitchee on April 26 before traveling to Maldives to play New Radiant in May.
Kaya's two home wins were both by 1-0 scorelines. Without striker Robert Lopez-Mendy, ineligible in the AFC Cup due to paperwork issues, they have struggled to find the net. But their English attacker Louis Clark may be back. He only played in the away loss to Kitchee for the AFC Cup because of a quadriceps problem. In the UFL he has been deployed in both the Cup quarters and semifinals, so he is slowly getting into fitness. On Tuesday he will be needed to find the back of the net.
Like Ceres, a win on Tuesday will strengthen their hold atop their group and will give them a great platform to make the round of 16.
SPOILER ALERT: Stuff about UFL Cup semis coming next!
UFL Cup semis.
The semifinals of the UFL Cup were played last Wednesday but they air this Sunday, April 10. If you don't know the result and want to be surprised, stop reading now. I can even help you make sure you don't see anything beyond this line.
Okay? Coast clear? Know the result? Then proceed.
The semis were played last Wednesday in front of a pretty decent-sized crowd in Rizal Memorial. Both games were tight contests but the second semi was the classic.
Here are the highlights of the Global versus Stallion contest.
And the full highlights of Ceres' epic shootout win over Kaya.
It's best to watch both matches in their entirety, even if you already know the result. Tune in on Sunday night. The final will be played on the evening of Saturday, April 16 in Rizal Memorial. The telecast of that game will be on Aksyon TV the following evening at 9 pm. The third place match will air at 7 pm.
No doubt the Pinoy club football scene is buzzing with these two competitions, and with the UFL League beginning in two weeks, there will be even more for Pinoy football fans to look forward to.
Follow Bob on Twitter @PassionateFanPH – Rappler.com