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Different motivations fuel Ceres, Kaya towards UFL Cup Final

A battle truly beckons tomorrow evening. More than winning the Cup, two teams are chasing to make history in more ways than one.

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Last Tuesday’s semifinal matches saw Kaya FC and Ceres-La Salle FC forge an exciting United Football League (UFL) Cup Final to be played tomorrow evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Entering the clash for all the marbles, the two teams bank on their commitment to accomplish their goals.

For Kaya, a spot in the playoff round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup lies ahead of them. A win away from opening a door to Asian football, Kaya face a daunting task of beating Ceres-La Salle to get to it. Their attacking threats have delivered so far in the Cup, with Louis Clark, Tishan Hanley, OJ Porteria, and Kenshiro Daniels terrorizing opposing defenses. At the back, they have a solid foundation also. Veteran Aly Borromeo skippers the back four which has only conceded four goals to date inside 660 minutes played throughout the Cup. Nick O’Donnell, one of the country’s fine goalkeepers, also stand his guard well between the sticks. He has proven himself to be a tough figure to get past to, especially in penalty kicks.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Different motivations fuel Ceres, Kaya towards UFL Cup Final News

Kaya virtually marched their way into the semis but it is there where they had to scrape for a result against an equally motivated Stallion team. The character the team shown in coming back from 2-0 down was enormous and they will certainly need to be just as motivated at the very least when they take on a rarely-defeated Ceres squad. A team which has been comfortable with possession, Kaya also boasts talented players who could quickly turn the game on its head. Whether they would compete for ball control or happy to wear Ceres-La Salle down by playing sharply on the break, Kaya will definitely have to be on point in their finishing, a department where Ceres has been good in limiting their opponents as of late.

If Kaya aspires to be in Asia, Ceres-La Salle wants to take home another trophy home to Negros. Ali Go’s players look in fine form if recent games were to suggest. Three clean sheets kept in their last three matches gives you an idea of how disciplined Ceres-La Salle is at the back. Their unit, which is a mixture composed of Bacolod’s finest, Azkal mainstays, and impressive foreign talent, has been coherently organized in a manner that allows them to play possession football seamlessly at most times. Perhaps their greatest vulnerability is when their fullbacks commit too high up on the field, partly because it leaves a gaping hole that opponents can take advantage of. A Kaya team that reached as far as them looks a different animal than the other teams they brushed aside especially in the earlier stages of the knockout rounds.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Different motivations fuel Ceres, Kaya towards UFL Cup Final News

Interestingly, Ceres-La Salle’s weakness also offers a big part to their main strength. Often playing inside the opponent’s half, Ceres-La Salle won most of their games by playing well with the ball whilst patiently but suddenly opening up defenses. They do it with many players figuring in the attacking half, providing them plenty of options available to execute plays. Ceres-La Salle will go against Kaya without instrumental midfielder Manny Ott who picked up a suspension due to accumulated bookings. Nevertheless, Ceres-La Salle boasts a deep lineup which could assure two quality players in each position. Their depth makes them favorites in this match, but Ceres-La Salle may also have to be careful in not letting Kaya dictate the match. As it would seem, their opponents are expected to risk everything for a chance to join them in the next level, but Ceres’ drive to win should be just as much if they want to complete a rewarding season double.

A battle truly beckons tomorrow evening. More than winning the Cup, two teams are chasing to make history in more ways than one. Unfortunately, only one will emerge victorious. Plots like these only add sparkle to the beautiful game and with the feeling of victory always sweeter than defeat, the two teams are expected to showcase their best football in order to achieve their ultimate goals. — LGT

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