United City FC banked on Mike Ott’s goal in the first half to edge past the Azkals Development Team, 1-0, Wednesday night in the start of the Philippines Football League at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Ott supplied the first goal of the shortened season in the 25th minute, scoring a volley from the edge of the box courtesy of an assist by his older brother Manny.
But the club formerly known as Ceres-Negros had to withstand a late charge by ADT to salvage a draw even after being reduced to 10-man following a straight red on Manny Ott in the 84th coupled with a pair of chances by ADT to equalize.
The effort, however, was denied after goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus saved Louie Ocampo’s header off a Jarvey Gayoso free kick that came shortly after Manny Ott was sent off for a rough challenge on Troy Limbo.
ADT threatened anew in injury with Carlo Dorin attempting a chance to equalize, only for Pinthus to come away with the save and eventually preserve the full three points to UCFC.
“I think you have to give credit to ADT because they were so resilient, they sustained it and they give it all until the last part of the game,” said United City coach Frank Muescan,
Tensions were high for most of the match with physical plays prompting UCFC star Stephan Schrock to engage in several verbal exchanges with ADT counterparts.
ADT coach Scott Cooper lamented seeing his team concede the first half goal but also opted to look for silver linings amid the slim defeat against the fancied UCFC side.
“A 1-nil loss for a team of kids that not many of them play professional games against proven Azkals and proven foreign players and to push them close at the end to the point where it looked like it’s gonna end up 1-1, I’m pretty proud of them,” said Cooper.