MANILA, Philippines – The Loyola Meralco Sparks downed Green Archers United-Globe, 2-0, and Pachanga Diliman turned back Philippine Air Force, 3-2, to arrange a title showdown in the United Football League Cup at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig City Tuesday night.
Azkals star Phil Younghusband scored a pair of free kicks to carry the Sparks back into the finals since making it that far two years ago and losing to talisman Chieffy Caligdong and the Phl Air Force booters.
But there will be no Loyola-Air Force re-match as Pachanga Diliman denied it by turning back the Airmen, 3-2, thanks to a spectacular, late match-clinching goal by Iranian striker Reza Amirkhizan.
Loyola and Pachanga Diliman will clash for all the marbles at 7:45 p.m. tonight at the same venue.
And Younghusband and the Sparks could be staring at destiny.
"To be fair to them, they tried to play the game their way. They asked us a question if we were willing to fight back against them and we showed today we were willing to fight and that's what got us the victory," said Younghusband, who hiked his total goals to a league-high 20.
Younghusband unloaded a devastating low shot off the heroics of Lee Joo Young that zoomed straight to the left corner and passed Archers goalie Patrick Deyto for the first goal of the match and a 1-0 lead for Loyola.
The Fil-Brit scoring demon unleashed another free kick after he a curled the ball straight to the top corner and way out of Deyto's reach again to complete a brace, that proved enough for Loyola to seal the deal.
While Younghusband connected on his shots, Caligdong, a former Azkals team captain who has jumped from Air Force to Green Archers now, missed all of them.
After carrying the Archers to the semis, Caligdong couldn't wield his magic as he missed several chances including one early in the second half when he uncorked a shot that went over the bar that would have knotted the count at one goal apiece had it gone in.
Down by two, Caligdong, who is also a Globe Telecoms endorser, surprisingly missed two more penalty shots, the first went a little wide only to be retaken after match referee called Loyola for encroachment.
On the second try, Caligdong mistakenly went for the same spot that Loyola keeper Baba Sampana brilliantly anticipated for that spectacular save.
Two more misses by a desperate Caligdong late in the match sealed the Archers' doom.