Jarvey Gayoso lamented the fact that his first goal in the 2023-2024 AFC Champions League came during Kaya-Iloilo’s 1-3 loss to the Chinese club Shandong Taishan on Tuesday night during both sides’ Group G clash at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The former Azkals Development Team standout performed a cool finish in the 79th minute to give the 2023 Philippines Football League champions hope of salvaging a draw as they were two goals down by then.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be, and Gayoso’s first goal on Asian club football’s biggest stage amounted to nothing more than a consolation.
“Well, first of all, Ricky (Sendra) did a really good pass. I think it was one of those moments when you look at your teammate, and he knows and is familiar with what you can bring. He basically made it a lot easier for me, so all credit goes to Ricky,” said the two-time UAAP champion.
“For sure, it’s not going to rank high because we came out with a loss, of course, but it’s still in my memories. It will always be something I will cherish — being able to give what I can for Kaya.”
Kaya actually held Shandong Taishan to a goalless first half, only to concede thrice after the halftime break. As a team making its return to the Champions League for the first time in two years, this result was a lesson they needed to receive early if they want to advance out of the group stage.
There will be tougher tests with away assignments against JLeague side Yokohama F. Marinos and South Korea’s Incheon United on the horizon. For now, it is back to the drawing board for the LBC-backed club.
“I think, despite the scoreline, I’m so proud of the boys. We gave it our all. We fought on the field. We did what we trained for, what we prepared for, and we’ll take every positive from this game,” said Gayoso.
“I don’t know. I guess it’s just part of the game. They were able to capitalize on the attempts they had, and we just needed a bit more discipline, especially when it comes to tracking back and defending, especially since we were so close to tying at least.”
Back in the 2021 group stage bubble matches in Thailand, Kaya failed to get a win in six attempts. Gayoso and his teammates hope that things will be different this time around as they have home fans and more experience this time.
It is an uphill climb for Kaya or any Filipino club to win a game in the Champions League, but they will give it their best shot.
“We’re a fighting team. You saw it on the field. We will be there for each other. We will fight for each other, and we’ll do what we can to achieve the best outcome,” said Gayoso.