Title favorite United City FC bared its teeth in a 10-0 rout of Maharlika FC at the PFF national training center pitch in Carmona town, Cavite, Tuesday to win its third match in a row and top the Philippines Football League table.
Underscoring its offensive depth, strikers Robert Mendy and OJ Porteria had a hat-trick each while Mike Ott added a brace in leading the rout to boost UCFC closer to bagging the title in the six-team tournament presented by Qatar Airways.
Midfield maestro Stephan Schröck and Bienvenido Maranon, who had a hat-trick in their previous match, booted in the other two goals as UCFC played flawlessly to establish itself as a cut above the rest in this short, single-round series sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation, the sport's national governing body.
Maharlika was shown a clinic, losing for the second time in three matches and could miss Cameroonian goalkeeper Henri Bandeken in the next match after going out in the first half with an injury.
What might be daunting for UCFC’s remaining two opponents -- Stallion-Laguna and Kaya-Iloilo, respectively -- is that coach Francis Muescan believes that his squad still has another gear.
“We will increase our intensity further. The way we attack, the way we build up, the way we score and continue to go all the way against our last game against Kaya,” Muescan said.
“The boys are really hungry for the title and we’ll just keep on going and score more goals. We won’t slow down for anyone.”
Schröck echoed such sentiments, saying: “We still have much to give and more to spare. I believe that.”
He stressed that even with the game seemingly wrapped up that “the best respect we can show our opponent is by taking them seriously. And we took Maharlika seriously.”
While Schröck considers former Azkal teammate and Maharlika skipper Anton del Rosario a close friend, “he gets the same treatment as everyone once I play on the pitch,” according to the national team captain.
Dorlas said despite the beating his players took from their rivals, “we can still learn from this, rest and look forward to our remaining games.”
He was more worried about the status of Bandeken, who appeared to have pulled a muscle and had to be sidelined for the second half.
“We won’t exactly know the extent of Henri’s injury but we hope that it is not so serious that he can’t play in our next matches,” Dorlas said.