Reigning UFL Cup champion Global and former second division stalwart JP Voltes seek their second victories when they clash with separate rivals today in the 2016 United Football League at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Coming off an impressive win over Stallion to start its campaign, Global hopes to make it two-in-a-row against Laos FC at 4 p.m. after Voltes tangles with Manila Nomads in the earlier kickoff at 2 p.m.
Voltes also delivered a scintillating performance to open the season, drubbing Pasargad, 6-0, last week behind a hat trick from on-loan striker J Baguioro.
Nomads enjoyed a walkover win over MSA Agila in their league opener, which makes their clash with Voltes their first taste of first division action.
But the spotlight will be on a Global side that looks even more determined to reclaim the league crown it last won two seasons ago.
Coach Leigh Manson’s charges have lost only one game from nine matches this season with its only defeat coming via forfeiture to Green Archers in the UFL Cup.
Playing with more attacking verve and with its backline hardly giving an inch, Global has toppled some of the league’s top teams early in the season to emerge as favorites to lift another trophy.
Misagh Bahadoran has been at the heart of Global’s resurgence with the skipper banging in two goals in the 4-2 victory over Stallion last Sunday.
The Global captain also sparkled in the UFL Cup finals last month, scoring twice in the 3-1 win over Ceres.
Manson said Bahadoran’s fine form is a product of his work on the training ground.
“Misagh has been working very very hard in training,” said Manson of his skipper who also scored three goals for the national team over the past 10 months.
“What happened to Misagh over the past year is not accidental. Its hardwork. It’s having very very high personal standards. One of the reasons why he’s the captain is the fact that he epitomises Global and he carries on that legacy for Global.”
Usually deployed as a winger in previous seasons, Bahadoran has thrived on his new role up front, terrorizing defences with his pace and trickery.
“I’m a big fan of having him up front. He can play wide, but defenders don’t like players like him coming at them at full pace,” said Manson.
Laos, which went unbeaten on its way to the second division title last season, suffered a 2-10 setback to Kaya in its top-flight debut last Saturday.
But the side boasts of experienced players like former Global striker Izzo El-Habbib, who is joined in the squad by Iranian midfielder Hamed Hajimehdi and former Stallion defender Sean Bateau.