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AFC Cup

Kaya enjoy perfect away night with three-goal rout of Balestier


What a performance. What a win. What a night.

No amount of praise would be enough to describe Kaya Football Club’s magnificent 3-0 away win against FC Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. It was Kaya’s fourth 2016 Asian Football Confederation Cup Group F fixture, and their third consecutive win in the competition.

The result means Kaya top the Group F table with 9 points after four games played. Alfred Osei (15′), Kenshiro Daniels (25′) and substitute Louis Clark (73′) were Kaya’s goalscorers of the night, but it was an all-around impressive team performance from the squad.

From the start of the match, Kaya were evidently the side with more bravado in them. Kaya may have been designated the away side, but they played the match as if it were at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. There were signs that Kaya smelled blood when Balestier goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam was made to work early in the match, as he rushed out to clear the danger poised by OJ Porteria’s through pass.

At the other end, though, Kaya goalkeeper Matthew Acton denied Balestier striker Mirsolav Kristic with a fine save. Kristic’s fellow forward, Zulkiffli Hassim, also threatened Kaya’s backline with a wonderful cross, only for his teammate, Emir Lotinac, to squander the attempt. That was as good as it got for Balestier since Kaya dictated the tempo afterwards.

Kaya finally got the goal their aggressive start warranted in the 15th minute. From a corner kick, Daniels whipped a fabulous ball into the Balestier box which found its way to Osei. Osei capitalized on Balestier’s poor set-piece marking and headed the ball home to give the Philippine side the priceless 1-0 lead.

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Just moments after the restart, Kaya could have doubled their lead when Jovin Bedic played through Anton Ugarte, who then forced Zaiful to make a fine save. It was all Kaya from that point, as they forced Balesteir to concede free kicks again and again. In one such instance, Daniels delivered another ball into Balestier’s territory which, again, found an unmarked Osei, although this time his shot was blocked. 

Daniels, however, wasn’t to be denied in the match, and he scored Kaya’s inevitable second goal of the evening. Bedic looped a ball over for Daniels to chase, and the latter made no mistake by putting the ball past Zaiful in the 25th minute. In less than thirty minutes into the game, Kaya had a resounding 2-0 advantage on away soil. It was all the more resounding after their defensive performance in the Kitchee SC away loss at Hong Kong.

It could have been game, set, and match before halftime, but Kaya were unlucky not to add a third goal. Not that they were complaining, though, what with dream start which could only have been imagined before kickoff. At the break, it was Balestier 0, Kaya 2.

Come the second half, Kaya were still in cruise control. Even a more physical and ragged Balestier couldn’t harm them. Porteria forced a good save from Zaiful, then Bedic miscued a pass that came his way. In the 65th minute, however, it could have all gone downhill for Kaya.

Masa Omura fouled Kristic in his own box and the referee had no choice but to award Balestier the penalty. Acton, however, was alert and he added to the misery of Balestier’s evening when he guessed right and cleared Kristic’s penalty for a corner.

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With pressure off their shoulders, Kaya aimed to get that third goal to add an exclamation point to their fantastic performance. Clark whipped in some good crosses from the right flank, but Porteria failed to convert any of them when the latter made some good runs in the box. Zaiful was also a hindranc,e and was on damage limitation mode when he denied Daniels and Bedic yet again with some routine stops.

Nevertheless, that third goal finally arrived for Kaya in the 73rd minute. Clark timed his run perfectly and controlled a long pass well, then unleashed a powerful shot towards the bottom left post which left Zaiful helpless. An incredible night at Singapore had just become more impressive as Kaya led 3-0 on away soil. Before the end of ninety minutes, Acton was alert to keep the clean sheet. In the end, Kaya held on to beat Balestier 3-0 in Singapore.

A revenge match against Kitchee on April 26, 2016 (Tuesday) is next for Kaya. It must be remembered that Kitchee were the only team to defeat Kaya in this tournament. No doubt Kaya will want to get avenge themselves. Venue and kickoff time are yet to be announced. 

Photo courtesy of AFC.com

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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