Saturday, September 15, 2007

POF update by Ronaldo

The Cebu City vs Iloilo Province match ended in a 2-2 draw. The venue was transfered to the Iloilo Sports Complex because an all-night downpour flooded the La Paz Football Field.

Both teams then had to wait for the schedule atheletic eliminations to finish. The match started around 10:30 am with both teams employing a 4-4-2 formation.

Cebu struck early. At the eight minute, a thru pass from midfield got to booth at the penalty box were he was brought down by an Iloilo defender. Cunningham then sent the penalty kick to the low right of the goal. 1-0 Cebu.

While everybody was texting about the early goal to those waiting for news back home, Cebu was awarded a free kick after a foul following an interception from the kickoff. Arcenas then sent a magnificent dipping shot straight into the Iloilo goal that kissed the bottom of the bar and landed inside the net. 2-0 Cebu at the 10th minute.

Iloilo then made changes in their tactics. They sent one of their fullbacks up and had their left winger play closer to center. With 6 Ilonggos playing midfield, Cebu's midfield had to play defensively and their offensive drive halted. The muddy and wet field also made ground balls and short passing practically impossible. The long ball then became the order of the day for Iloilo.

One such longball sailed above everybody at the 18th minute and went into the direction of Cebu's last man. Anticipating a bounce, he slowed down his approach. Unfortunately the ball landed smack into a puddle of water and mud and failed to bounce. An Iloilo striker got to the ball first, faked once and slotted the ball past a diving Leonard Tan. 2-1 Cebu ahead.

On the very last minute of the half, Iloilo's smallest player got the ball deep at right corner all by his lonesome. With 2 defenders rushing towards him, he illuded one and sent off a weak hail mary attempt. The 99% Ilonggo crowd then went wild as the ball was deflected into the goal by a Cebu defender. 2-2 at halftime.

The second half saw a worsening field condition. Sideline play was non-existent as the ball simply would not roll more than a couple of feet. Iloilo continued with the long ball tactic while Cebu stuck with it's short game.

Cebu had 4-5 chances for another goal as it had accurate passers but once it reached our strikers at or near the penalty box, Iloilo started holding on to the players that prevented them from properly controlling the ball and attempting a shot.

On the other side, Iloilo had a magnificent chance to win the game in the dying minutes when a defensive lapse saw a one on one situation between Leonard Tan and the Ilonggo striker at  the penalty box. Tan then made two magnificent diving saves to preserve the draw.

How I wish field conditions were better. It was an even matchup and seeing both teams performing on drier conditions and properly executing their plays would have been a treat.

Cebu assured itself of third place when it defeated the other Visayas powerhouse, NOFA, 1-0 yesterday thru another Arcenas goal. But the win came at a price as Arcenas, Caballero and Tan suffered injuries in the match.

Cebu vs. Iloilo today at 8am. A win will assure us of 2nd place. If Iloilo province loses or draws with Bacolod, Cebu gets top seed for the region. Their will be no championship game. The top 3 on points will qualify to the National finals in November at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Other game results

NOFA over Iloilo City 4-1
Iloilo Province over Iloilo City 7-0

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