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Green Archers United upends Kaya with dazzling defense

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A back-and-forth United Football League (UFL) Division I match ended in favor of Green Archers United (GAU) FC against top four team, Kaya FC. A great defensive showing from GAU goalkeeper Paolo Pascual led his team in brilliantly defending against a highly offensive Kaya. In doing so, they successfully maintained their early 2-0 lead throughout the match.

The first half was fairly contested between both teams. Kaya’s Christian Ayew had two early shots in the game to try and break the deadlock. Afterwards, GAU had attempts of their own after Ayew’s last shot attempt. Jhan Jhan Melliza had a great look from outside the penalty box which threatened Kaya goalie Nick O’Donell. Luckily for the Kaya custodian, Melliza’s shot bounced off the crossbar. Both teams took on more attempts of their own in the ensuing minutes. It was at the 24th minute, however, when the tie ended. Green Archers’ midfielder Robert Cañedo found himself with acres of space from 35 yards out and masterfully blasted the ball that brushed off the crossbar and into the goal.

After the goal, Kaya came alive and quickly went on the attack. In the next 10 minutes, the men in yellow bombarded GAU’s defense with numerous shots, but none made it past Green Archers’ goalkeeper Paolo Pascual. More trouble came Kaya’s way when defender Alfred Osei fouled former Azkal Chieffy Caligdong inside the box. The awarded penalty proved to be costly as GAU’s striker and leading scorer Robert Lopez Mendy smartly sneaked the ball between O’Donell and the post, for his team’s second.

Ten minutes before the half ended, the recent FEU graduate, Melliza tried to give his team their third point. He masterfully dribbled the ball near the top of the penalty area and slammed the ball towards the goal, the shot however ended up in the hands of O’Donell. Kaya quickly used the save to counter their opponent’s attack. Their hasty play up front proved to be risky as OJ Porteria instantly had the opportunity to trim the gap. Nevertheless, his shot was easily deflected by the alert Archers’ backline. The consequent corner kick would be Kaya’s last attempt to get one back, but it was a futile one as the ball went far from the goal. The half ended with the men in black and green holding a 2-0 lead.

In the second half, Kaya’s desire for a goal was evident with their body language. With just four minutes after the start of the half, Miguel Tanton was able to free himself from the defense and shoot the ball only for it to go just inches wide. Despite trailing behind, Kaya was patient with their offense and managed to create chances. Their chances however, did not meet the back of the net, no thanks to Green Archers’ sturdy defense and great plays by their custodian Pascual. The pace and complexion of the game remained the same all throughout the second half. It was only a matter of time when the final whistle sounded, with the Archers rejoicing a 2-0 score line to celebrate their second straight win for the second round of the league.

GAU Head Coach Rodolfo Alicante praised his boys’ defense and emphasized that it was the cause of their victory. “Maganda ginawa ng mga players, maganda ‘yung depensa. I think that’s the reason why we won this game,” he said. He also elaborated that his central players Reynald Villareal and William Ebanda played an integral role in making their great defense work. On the other side of the pitch, newly appointed Kaya Head Coach Fabien Lewis remained upbeat and was satisfied with his team’s performance. “I must commend my boys. They gave a hell of a fight,” he said.

Coach Alicante and his boys will now prepare for their next match against fellow in-form squad Manila Jeepney FC, who trampled title chasers Stallion FC earlier, on June 27. Meanwhile, Kaya FC will try to bounce back against a restless Loyola Meralco Sparks FC on the same day.

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