After six matches, Kaya-Iloilo Football Club’s inconsistent performance in the continent culminated in a premature exit in the 2019 AFC Cup group stage.
Needing a win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying to the knockouts, the LBC-backed club instead suffered a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Singapore Premier League team Home United, Tuesday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
The result relegates Kaya to 3rd place with eight points after Home leapfrogged them to 2nd place with 10 points. The latter finish as runners-up of Group H and earn a slim chance of advancing to the Zonal semi-finals.
Kaya finish their AFC Cup stint with two each of wins, draws, and losses after six matchdays.
Noel Marcaida’s men endured the worst possible start in a football game when they conceded a goal just moments after the referee blew his whistle to start the match.
Midfielder Adam Swandi took advantage of some lackluster defending from the visiting team. The 23-year-old found himself with space and shot past former Azkals goalkeeper Louie Casas to break the deadlock.
Kaya then tried to respond, but Home goalie Rudy Khairullah denied Jordan Mintah’s cheeky attempt with a great stop. Mintah’s missed proved costly for the Filipinos, as defender Abdil Qaiyyim headed in his side’s second goal in the 18th minute off a set-piece.
With their qualification hopes hanging by a thread, Kaya had no choice but to push forward in the second half. Mintah, Connor Tacagni, and skipper Jovin Bedic all had their sniffs at goal, but none of them successfully found the back of the net as Home celebrated its most vital win in the competition so far.
Home United XI: Khairullah (GK), Jantan, Qaiyyim, Hameed, Song, Nor, Shafiq ©, Roslan, Syahin, Asyraf, Swandi.
Kaya-Iloilo XI: Casas (GK), Matas, Omura, Tacusalme, Bedic ©, Angeles, Osei, Felongco, Mintah, Tacagni, Roberts.