Playing the last 20 minutes with only 10 men, Global Cebu stunned Hougang United, 2-1, last Saturday to become the first Philippine club to reach the finals of the Singapore Cup at Hougang Stadium in Singapore.
Former Trinidad and Tobago international Darryl Roberts reprised his heroics from the first leg, scoring both goals again as Global completed a 4-3 aggregate victory against the S-League side and arranged a title clash with Albirex Nigata.
It was a remarkable feat for the Philippines Football League side considering the fact that only 13 players traveled to Singapore after the squad was hit by injuries to key players.
But that did not stop Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas’ side from making history as Roberts was once again on target with a couple of opportunistic strikes in each half, while Patrick Deyto proved his quality in goal with a string of impressive saves and an assist to his teammates’ match-winning strike.
Ceres-Negros and Meralco Manila, then known as Loyola Meralco Sparks, were eliminated in the semifinals of the tournament in recent years.
Global reached the finals, five years after Meralco became the first Filipino club to be invited to the tournament.
“We won despite all the problems and it showed the great character of the team,” said Nawas, who missed Misagh Bahadoran and Amani Aguinaldo due to injuries.
Global defender Dennis Villanueva was sent off in the 70th minute for a second booking after fouling Fumiya Kogure. But Roberts took his chance two minutes later.