Given a golden opportunity for the full points, Kaya FC dismantled hapless Team Socceroo, 7-0, to strengthen their claim for a runner-up finish in the United Football League (UFL), Wednesday evening, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Kaya wasted no time to put something at the back of the net, as soon as the kickoff. At the third minute, Carlo Liay sent a ball into the penalty box, only to be denied by Team Socceroo Keeper, Baba Sampana. Three minutes after the play, however, Kaya’s great passing inside the box was rewarded with the breakthrough goal. Junior Muñoz delivered the ball inside the box, which connected to Kenshiro Daniels. The versatile winger then flicked the ball to Tishan Hanley, who headed the ball into the goal.
At the 13th minute, two straight opportunities for the black-shirts occurred, but neither produced another goal. Chris Greatwich connected to Hanley and Porteria on these instances, only the two players were called for offside. Six minutes from these muffed chances, Porteria doubled the lead for Kaya. Daniels found himself with enough room to operate and made a timely cross to his long-time teammate, who slotted the ball past Sampana. The away side continued to dominate possession and, consequently, kept on attacking the opposing defense. Three minutes after that second goal, Team Captain Aly Borromeo sent a lovely ball forward to Daniels, who then connected once more to a rushing teammate. Alfred Osei made sure the pass was not be for naught as he tapped it into the onion bag for his team’s third.
On the other hand, Team Socceroo was finally able to advance the ball pass the midfield at the 25th minute. Joseph Fermin found himself with support from Alu Kigbu. The incoming University of the Philippines skipper sent it first to Kigbu, who sent it back to him for the shot. Fermin was, nonetheless, denied by Kaya custodian Matthew Silva. That would be the last hurrah for the white-shirts in the half, as their opponents resumed with their aggressive play. At the half-hour mark, Porteria was left unmarked inside the box on the counter attack. The former Philippine U23 standout smothered the ball into the goal to widen the gap for Kaya. The halftime whistle was sounded with the Fabian Lewis-mentored team comfortably ahead, 4-0.
Despite the lead, Kaya did not stop from moving forward albeit letting up with the pressure. Team Socceroo took advantage of this and tried to score. Kaya’s Masanari Omura fouled Alexandre Reche outside the box, giving the white-shirts a free kick. Benjamin Bowra took the free kick, and the first shot was denied by the defense. Reche attempted on the follow up, but sent the ball over the bar. At the half-hour mark, the floodgates opened for the second-seeded team. Daniels, who was sending timely passes to his fellow forwards, took it upon himself to score. The Azkal, from inside the box, blasted the shot past Sampana to blow the game wide open, 5-0.
At the 74th minute, Kaya scored another goal, when, once again, Daniels connected to Hanley on the free kick. The Kittian international fired his second of the match and his team’s sixth. To deliver the final nail on the coffin on Team Socceroo’s demise in stoppage time, Hanley completed his hattrick and put the exclamation point on this comprehensive win by Kaya FC. The final whistle was sounded with the scoreline at 7-0 in favor of the black-shirts.
With the win, Kaya remained in the hunt for second place finish, with their final game of the league against fellow chasers Global FC. Global FC is playing Loyola FC as of presstime. The three teams, along with Stallion, can still end up at that coveted runner-up spot and possible 2016 AFC Cup playoff berth.
In the interview after, Kaya Head Coach Fabian Lewis was pleased with how his team played. Lewis shared that in their hunt for that second-place finish, “This win – all wins – is very important for us. I am very happy that we [the boys] won the game.” The tactician reiterated to his team that, “If you want to be champion of any league in any part of the world, you must beat every team. Unfortunately, we fell short of first [place], and now second [place] is up for grabs, so our objective remains the same.”
Daniels, on his part, shared his happiness with his performance. The winger said, “It feels good. I feel like I haven’t been playing the way I should have in the past couple of games. So, getting today with [four] assists and a goal; brings a lot to my confidence.” He also was pleased that he was able to help his team being back on the front line.
Team Socceroo ended their season at ninth place with a single point off a solitary draw. Meanwhile, Kaya will take on archrivals Global on a very important battle on Saturday, August 1.