Uzoka leads CFC’s first win in Copa Paulino Alcantara versus UP
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu Football Club (CFC) Gentle Giants opened their Copa Paulino Alcantara campaign with a resounding 2-0 victory against the University of the Philippines (UP) on Sunday, August 20, 2023, at the Dynamic Herb-Borromeo Sports Complex in Cebu City.
The returning Nigerian forward, Chima Uzoka, put on an impressive performance after scoring a brace or two goals for CFC.
Uzoka didn’t waste time and immediately scored CFC’s first goal at the fourth minute.
He used his height to execute the header against the smaller UP defenders to catch the corner pass from winger Ken Murayama.
CFC capped off the first half of the game with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, CFC continued to impose tough defense and relentless attacks against UP, but the latter remained resilient and even had plenty of chances to score an equalizer.
However, in the 71st minute, Murayama found a gap in UP’s defense for an attack. Murayama almost lost the ball possession on the left side of the goal box, but luckily lobbed the ball to the sprinting Uzoka.
Uzoka immediately flicked the ball high enough from the reach of UP’s goalkeeper to score CFC’s second goal, 2-0.
“We knew it was always going to be a difficult game. They’re well coached. They’re exactly what we expected. To be honest, my expectation to come in is to win the first game. I wasn’t concern of the number of goals. Obviously, the most important for us was the three points,” said CFC’s head coach Joshua Schirmer.
Schirmer coached CFC for the first time during their game against UP on Sunday.
“Everything’s going to be adjusted. It’s the beginning of the season. It’s normal to make changes and make tactics,” he added.
For UP’s head coach, Popoy Clarino, they had a fantastic experience in their first out-of-town match in the Copa Paulino Alcantara.
Despite the loss, they credited the Cebuano football fans’ ecstatic energy throughout the match that pushed their players to give their best.
“This was our first out of town game. Hopefully [it] won’t be the last. We came here expecting a very good atmosphere. It was a fantastic experience. The Cebu crowd was phenomenal. I think it pushed the players to give their best. We hope we gave an entertaining match to everyone,” said Clarino during the post-match presser.
CFC will spend the rest of Group B’s matches at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Their next match is against Manila Diggers at 4 p.m. August 27.
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