With playoff spots on the line, Tondo F.C. and Futbol Funatics put out some of their best performances, while the Super Eagles clinched the top overall record in Match Day 11 of the Philam Life 7's Football League at the Mckinley Hill Stadium.
In what was last season's finals rematch, the Super Eagles scored a convincing win against their archrivals in Ghana F.C., 2-0. After both teams were scoreless in the first half, Ebere Ugochukwu and Stanley Edeme shattered the deadlock with two timely goals. From there, the Super Eagles held on to their lead by executing well on defense.
Given the rivalry that these two teams already have, winning one over the other was something Coach Danny Kross finds joy in, especially as they gear up for their title defense.
"It was just beautiful and awesome. You know, even if this was a friendly game back home it was always like this because we never want to lose against those guys. We're happy we won against them," said Kross.
"For us, every game is like the Finals and for sure we're going to face a much tougher road. I believe that this team will go very far and that's our main goal. We'll be ready and we'll see what happens," added the fiery mentor.
Tondo F.C. came out sizzling from the get-go, pouring in three straight goals in the first half against Stallions Laguna. Through their balanced firepower, the former added three more in the second half to seal the victory.
With only seven players for the Stallions Laguna side, Tondo F.C. didn't let up on both ends as they turned up the pressure all throughout the game, trying to add more goals to their current total. Coach Dennis Balbin's message was clearly imbibed to his wards as they came out with a more inspired effort.
In getting the victory, Tondo F.C. ended the regular season with a 5-6 record, virtually clinching a playoff spot.
On the other hand, Superbad churned out a stellar showing against Ceres-Negros Youth, 4-1. Through Emmanuel Amoudo's all-around performance especially in the first half, Superbad closed their season out strong, despite ending with a 2-9 record.
Even if they finished their season in a whimper, Coach Iggy Halili expressed his optimism for his team given their improved chemistry and overall play towards the end. It's just a matter of having more time together as they regroup for next season.
"We're actually happy of the results since this is our first year in the league. We weren't really expecting much coming in. [At the start] we were dominated by some teams but eventually we got it together, we started competing. It's something to look forward to next season since we have good chemistry, we just have to build on it," said Halili.
Bohemian S.C. secured the third seed by posting a clean sheet against the streaking H&J All-Stars, 4-0. The Mikee Carrion-mentored club poured on two goals each in both halves as they controlled possession. Given their strong play and team chemistry recently, expectations are at an all-time high for them coming into the playoffs.
By sealing the third seed, Bohemian S.C. (8-3) is expected to go up against the sixth-seeded H&J All-Stars (6-5) once more and Coach Mike Carrion is looking forward to the challenge.
"We controlled possessions, we had better chances. I think both of us here are missing some key players as well. At the end of the day, getting the win and the [third seed] is what we're aiming for," said Carrion.
"Expectations are definitely high; we hope to get through all the way in the end. We know that in the quarterfinals they're going to come out much stronger and more aggressive, and it's going to be a totally different game when we get to face them again," he further mentioned.
In a game that went to as far as the penalties, it was Real Amigos who came out with a victory against Matu Deportivo, 4-3. Both teams have struggled on offense in regulation, finishing at 1-1. Johnson, Sam, and Messi scored three goals in the penalty shootout while Sen made a key save, icing the game for Real Amigos.
Acting as spoilers to Matu Deportivo's playoff hopes, the Real Amigos are most likely to be matched up against Delimondo-Laro F.C. given their identical records at 7-4.
"We knew that Matu is fighting to stay [in the playoff hunt]. Towards the end, we went to the penalties and fortunately our players were good and we're happy that we can move forward with this win," said Coach Lerche Njang.
"We will give all our best. I know that it is a knockout stage and stakes are bigger this time. But overall, I feel like we're getting better as we progress. Whoever comes up, we'll be ready," he added.
Rounding out Match Day 11 was Futbol Funatics ekeing a crucial 2-1 win against Delimondo-Laro F.C. After being down 0-1 initially, David Komenan and Michael Osuji notched two big goals before intermission en route to the victory.
With the win, the Futbol Funatics also finished the regular season with a 5-6 slate, facing the daunting task of going up against either Super Eagles or Ghana F.C. Midfielder Michael Osuji doesn't mind, however, especially since they've matched up well with both before.
"We came out here with more intensity with the aim of winning the game. They came out a little bit flat, but when they scored the first goal, we decided to pick up the pace and we got what we wanted," shared Osuji.
"Super Eagles and Ghana F.C. are very tough to beat. Our game against the Super Eagles was very close but I know that they're going to up their intensity when we'll face them. We just have to level up our game as we're set to face against them," he emphasized.
In Match Day 6 of the inaugural Women's 7s Football League, Bohemian S.C. and Nomads stay on top while Outkast F.C. and Sugod Malaya found their bearings once again.
In what was the highlight of the day, Sugod Malaya bucked a slow first half to complete a stunning comeback against TYFA, 5-4. Despite being down 1-3 during intermission, Sophia Margarse and the rest of the team kicked things up a notch on offense where they scored four straight goals.
Coach Marigen Ariel's instruction for her players to communicate constantly paid dividends for Sugod Malaya, especially since they looked lost in the first half.
Sugod Malaya is currently tied with Outkast F.C. with a 3-2 slate.
Outkast F.C., on the other hand, waylaid Young Pinay, 5-1. After a rough first half, Keuts Smith reminded her players to play with a sense of urgency and it worked in their favor, as they chipped in four unanswered goals.
"I told the girls that it's win or go home and they didn't have a choice but to do what they have to do to win. It would be a great morale booster but we're not celebrating [yet] because we need to win our last game. If we don't win next week, we might be out. But this still gives us confidence moving forward," said Smith.
Meanwhile, Nomads won over against the gritty Stallions-Hiraya F.C., 6-4. After cruising along with a 3-1 lead come half time, Nomads almost saw their lead evaporate with Stallions-Hiraya's three goals. However, Kyla Gibson and Joyce Semacio provided a timely boost helping their team get three goals of their own.
"It's a win but it was a tough game. We knew at the start that this team is a tough one to face, which is why to come away here scoring six goals and a win is special," said Coach Shane Cosgrove.
Fresh from her stint in the national team, Joyce Semacio was unfazed with the mental and physical fatigue as it was her unconditional love for football that pushed her to play at a high level tonight.
Establishing their dominance once again was Bohemian S.C., as they posted a clean sheet against Payatas F.C., 5-0. Through their fast-paced play and stingy defense, Bohemian S.C. controlled possession against the helpless Payatas F.C.
Despite their ongoing winning streak, Coach Ava Africa reminds her players to ward off complacency given their huge targets on their backs.
"From the start of the game, we kept on pressing them and we moved the ball around. Of course, we need to work on a lot of things and improve from this game. We never take our past success to get into our heads. We don't think ourselves as the ones on top of the board and we [avoid] being complacent," said Africa.