There was an air of disappointment for Kaya-Iloilo Football Club in its return to the continental stage.
In what was its first assignment in the 2019 AFC Cup, the Ilonggo side had to make do with a 1-1 draw away to the current Lao Premier League champions Lao Toyota FC, at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane, Laos.
The result gives both squads one point each after matchday one. They are level with fellow Group H members Home United of Singapore and PSM Makassar of Indonesia, who played out another 1-1 draw simultaneously.
Jovin Bedic wore the captain’s armband for Noel Marcaida’s men during the contest. The Filipino international player led by example when he finished off a counterattack to score past Lao goalie Outthilath Nammakhoth in the 18th minute.
Kaya protected Bedic’s goal as much as it could, as the home side relentlessly bombarded the LBC-backed club until the very end. Just when it looked like time was on Kaya’s side, Lao finally clinched a deserved equalizer three minutes before full-time, thanks to defender Sayfa Aphideth’s header.
Moments later, substitute forward Darryl Roberts had an opportunity to steal all three points with a free kick, only for him to direct it well over the Lao bar. It was anticlimactic finish for Kaya, but it is still a result that can be built on for the next few fixtures.
Kaya’s next assignment in the competition is against Singaporean side Home United on March 13, 2019, 3:00 PM at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Lao Toyota XI: Sayfa, Saison, Phoutdavy, Rafael, Soma, Konekham, Kazuo ©, Amaro, Ketsada, Outthilath (GK), Manolom.
Kaya XI: Matas, Omura, Tacusalme, Soriano, Bedic ©, Angeles, Tuason, Osei, Pasinabo Jr, Casas (GK), Mintah.