Kaya-Iloilo may have suffered a painful home defeat last time in the 2019 AFC Cup, but it redeemed itself in outstanding fashion.
Needing a win to maintain its quest to enter the Zonal semi-finals of the tournament, Jordan Mintah powered the LBC-backed club to a 5-1 victory against Laotian side Lao Toyota FC, Tuesday afternoon at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The result elevates Kaya’s standing to 1st place in Group H with 8 points. Its superior goal difference allows the Ilonggo side to leapfrog Indonesia’s PSM Makassar, which is competing against Singapore’s Home United as of writing.
Noel Marcaida’s men needed only 11 minutes to break the deadlock. Ghanian forward Jordan Mintah cut into the right flank and shot past goalkeeper Outthilath Nammakhoth in what was a tremendous demonstration of individual skill.
Mintah was a man of fire. His first goal was simply a precursor to what was essentially the perfect afternoon for him. The 23-year-old intercepted the ball away from substitute goalie Soukthavy Soundala and converted from a tight angle in the 66th minute. He then completed his hattrick with a long-range effort a minute before fulltime.
In between Mintah’s heroics were goals from Connor Tacagni, who scored a header five minutes before the halftime break; and Yannick Tuason, whose goal in the 86th minute came from the hattrick man’s assist.
Lao Toyota skipper Kazuo Homma scored a consolation goal from close range in the 70th minute, but the result was moot and academic by then. Kaya got all three points in a resounding win that puts pressure on PSM and Home United.
Kaya ends its group stage campaign against Home United on May 14, 2019, 8:30 PM at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Kaya XI: Casas (GK), Osei, Tacusalme, Omura, Matas, Angeles ©, Felongco, Pasinabo, Mintah, Roberts, Tacagni.
Lao Toyota XI: Nammakhoth (GK), Chanthalangsy, Amaro, Khounsamnan, Souksavanh, Phetphakdy, Rafael, Otani, Phommasane, Sophabmixay, Homma (C).