There’s no better way to win a Football match than a last minute goal. A team may dominate their opponents and score a handful of goals, but it will feel like the contest was over before the referee even blew his whistle at the end of the match. On the other hand, last minute goals add a fitting climax to the suspense and moments which occurred before the final whistle.
One good example of such a match was Kaya Football Club’s dramatic victory over Maldivian side New Radiant Sports Club. Kaya toiled for the whole ninety minutes to score that one goal and it took the last stoppage time minute for OJ Porteria to put the ball at the back of the New Radiant net.
The narrow, 1-0, win was Kaya’s first ever victory in any continental club competition. In terms of the present, the result made up for their loss away to Kitchee in Hong Kong. Three valuable points were won and they hope the momentum continues in their next 2016 Asian Football Confederation Cup fixtures.
For Kaya coach and player Chris Greatwich, the win was more of a relief rather than anything else. Greatwich felt that Kaya could have played better in the second half and he praised the well organized New Radiant defense. The goal came as a surprise to him and also maybe the spectators who witnessed the match. “Majority of that second half I couldn’t see us scoring a goal if I’m being perfectly honest but when you’ve got players with the caliber of OJ Porteria then anything can happen. Ultimately he came up with a fantastic goal late on I think deep into injury time which got us all three points.”
The winning goal goal arrived at virtually the last minute of the match, so much so the referee called for full time once the match restarted. It was a stunning finish and poor technique from Porteria could have made the ball go over. Porteria narrated, “Junior (Munoz) played a ball in. I don’t know if it was supposed to be for me but (New Radiant’s) center-back tried to slide for it, he missed it, and I just one-touched and was hoping it went in and thank God that it did.”
In addition to that, Porteria praised his teammates Antonio Ugarte and Dominic Del Rosario for their contributions in the match. “I think they changed the game and they helped the momentum. When the goal went in, it was just amazing. Unbelievable, unbelievable feeling.”
At the end of the match, Greatwich felt that the win showcased Kaya’s never say die spirit. “I don’t think it was our best performance but ultimately we got the three points because we persevered and we worked through our difficult moments and came out chumps in the end.”
If there was one group of people aside from the players who never game up, then it would have to be the Ultras Kaya. They constantly pushed their team up to the last second of the game. “The Ultras were unbelievable”, said Porteria. Porteria added that the group is a constant presence in their games and felt that they were ten times louder than usual. “I’m very happy they supported us tonight and we did it for the Philippines, not only for Kaya FC. Unbelievable, they’re unbelievable. They kept us going. It was the 95th minute and they were still yelling their hearts out and they were pushing us to score a goal. Luckily we did”, he expounded.
Porteria was just emotional after the match. He disclosed that his parents arrived from the USA and they and his other relatives drove from Cavite to watch the match. He also paid reverence to the Kaya fans who never stopped backing the club. “This is for them, this is for the Philippine people and this is for the Kaya fans.”
It wasn’t only Kaya’s win that shook Group F, but also Singaporean team Balestier Khalsa Football Club’s victory over Kitchee. Kaya and Kitchee are now tied at second place with 3 points while Balestier lead the pack with 4. The ramifications weren’t loss on Greatwich who believes that Kaya has a good team with players who have the proper attitude in training.
“Let’s see how far we go in this competition. We’ve got the potential. It’s just a case of realizing that. I know Kitchee lost today to Balestier which kind of opens up the group. I think this group is very much up for grabs. I think anyone can still qualify so it will be interesting to see how this group plays out”, added Greatwich.
There is still a long way to go for Kaya in their AFC Cup run. A home game on March 15, 2016 (Tuesday; 7:30PM), against Balestier at the Rizal Memorial Stadium is up next for the team. It’s gonna be a big match as both teams won their previous games. “We’re just gonna take this win and use it as momentum for the next couple of games and I think we have a lot to improve. I don’t think we played a great game tonight but we have a lot to learn, things to fix and let’s see what happens next”, stated Porteria.