Gentle Giants clamp Azkals Dev’t Team, close in on leader Kaya in PFL standings
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Football Club (CFC) Gentle Giants found its way back into the winning column after beating the Azkals Development Team (ADT), 2-1, in the ongoing Philippines Football League (PFL) at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
With the three points coming from the victory, the Gentle Giants are closing in on league leader, Kaya FC Iloilo in the team standings.
Cebu FC collected its ninth win in the league with one loss and four draws for 31 points, while Kaya is at the top spot with 36 points from 12 wins and three defeats.
Newly-signed Japanese forward Rintaro Hama and mainstay Daniel Gadia led the Gentle Giants in their big win by logging a goal each.
It was a fitting comeback for the club which absorbed a 1-1 draw against the Stallion Laguna FC last February 26 in Binan Football Stadium.
It was also their second win against the Azkals Development Team in their three meetings in the PFL.
Their first match last August ended in a 0-0 draw, but the Gentle Giants snatched three points from them in their October rematch, 3-0.
This time, the Azkals Development Team of head coach Stephan Schrock fought valiantly, but eventually bowed down to the more favored Gentle Giants.
Hama who officially signed with Cebu FC earlier this month scored his first PFL goal in the 20th minute.
Hama took advantage of the loose ball which came from Leoford Allen’s attempt that hit the crossbar and immediately scored on a header to give his team a 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Not to be outfought, the Azkals retaliated with a 46th-minute goal to make the match even at 1-1 courtesy of Gavin Muens.
Muens perfectly kicked the ball in the middle of the goal box from Oliver Diaz’ cross pass from the left side.
The Azkals gave the Gentle Giants a scare in the second half with numerous close attempts.
However, Cebu FC’s goalkeeper Florencio Badelic Jr. was up to the challenge, denying the Azkals’ attacks.
In the 71st minute, Gadia broke through the sleeping defense of the Azkals from the left side and easily flicked the ball inside the goal to give them a 2-1 advantage en route to their win.
The Gentle Giants will face Mendiola FC 1991 on March 25 and Maharlika Manila FC on March 29. /rcg
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