CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Football Club (CFC) Gentle Giants edged Mendiola FC 1991, 1-0, in the ongoing Philippines Football League (PFL), on Saturday, March 25, at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Japanese forward Rintaro Hama put on another stellar performance by scoring the lone goal for the Gentle Giants in the 23rd minute of the first half.
It served as his second goal in the entire league, following his March 11 goal in their win against the Azkals Development Team.
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Canadian Leaford Allen’s long pass perfectly landed the ball on Rintaro, who was sprinting on the left side of the goal box undefended.
The newly-signed Japanese standout then quickly strikes the ball past Mendiola’s goalkeeper Michael Asong who was forced to leave his post to defend him. The ball gave Cebu FC a 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
In the second half, Mendiola FC’s Junior Ngong Sam gave Cebu FC a scare with two close attempts.
Junior took advantage of Cebu FC’s poor defense, giving him an opportunity in the 67th minute to strike the ball undefended.
Fortunately, Cebu FC’s ever-reliable goalkeeper Florencio Badelic Jr. was there to deflect Junior’s attempt for an equalizer.
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Junior had another close call a minute later, but Badelic was once again there to deny him a goal. Also, his attempt was called an offside by match officials.
Rintaro was forced subbed out of the match in the 73rd minute after incurring an injury from a collision against a Mendiola player.
Rintaro was seen bleeding from his nose, which was quickly attended to by Cebu FC’s staff, and he was subbed by John Saldivar for the remainder of the match.
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Cebu FC hangs on until the final whistle to log their 11th win with 37 points, five points behind league-leader Kaya FC Iloilo with 42 wins.
Cebu FC paired their 11 wins with one loss and four draws, while Kaya has a 14-3 (win-loss) card.
Mendiola FC stands in sixth place with a 2-13 (win-loss) record. In their first meeting with Cebu FC, Mendiola also faltered in a 1-7 beating last September at the same venue.
Cebu FC is slated on April 23 against Kaya FC at the Dynamic Herb Borromeo Sports Complex in Cebu City. However, it’s yet to be determined.
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