Kaya left it late to edge past Ceres-La Salle in a 1-0 win Saturday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to breathe life into their United Football League campaign. Miguel Tanton found the winner in second half added time to secure a hugely important win.
Now, Kaya is still sitting in fifth place but is now just three points behind Loyola and four points behind Ceres-La Salle and JP Voltes in second and third respectively.
The battle was heated early on with Ceres managing to find the early openings. Matt Acton got called into the action, stopping Manny Ott’s effort eight minutes into the game. Bienvenido Marañon was then clean through but Acton got in the way of the winger. Despite the aggressiveness at the start, Ceres-La Salle had a man sent off, Valentine Kama, for a strong dissent on a call.
The extra man definitely got Kaya rolling. Junior Muñoz forced a save from Ed Sacapaño to send a message to their reduced opponents. Jovin Bedic also had a good look on goal, but failed to test the Negrense goalkeeper. An even better chance fell to Junior Muñoz in the 32nd minute. The Philippine international, who enjoyed a recent call-up to the Azkals, nearly translated a poor clearance into a goal but his header landed on top of the net instead.
As the match began to open up for Kaya, the number of men for both sides became level when Shirmar Felongco saw red for a rash challenge on Marañon. Halftime soon came with both teams still scoreless and down a man each.
The Busmen seemed to have gotten more from the break, pummeling the Kaya defense with a series of promising attacks for the majority of the half. Marañon, Gallardo and Schrock forced their way but couldn’t get to hit the ball enough to guide it past Acton. The Australian goalie notably produced a fine save to deny Marañon, who was set up nicely by Schrock in the 75th minute.
This is not to say that Kaya did not have their moments moving forward, but they looked dull and a Robert Lopez-Mendy half-chance summed it up in the 70th minute. The former Green Archers United stalwart lost the ball en route to what may have been a potential goalscoring opportunity. Lopez-Mendy attempted to make amends when he was presented a good view to send the ball into the back of the net. Unfortunately for him, Sacapaño met it with a one-handed save.
Chances continued to come for both teams as the game approached injury time. Schrock rattled the bar while Marañon fluffed a couple of shots, moments he surely rues given the outcome of the event. Tanton, who came on as a first half substitute for Muñoz, settled the match by pouncing on a loose ball to seal a win for Kaya. Tanton’s overwhelmed celebrations earned him a second yellow card which will see him miss their next league match.
Before the blockbuster affair, Forza rebounded impressively from a heavy defeat suffered to Ceres-La Salle last weekend when they inflicted a 3-1 defeat to Laos in the early kickoff.
Midfielder Nicholas Ferrer Jr. gave Forza the early lead, tucking the ball in from Park Kyul’s cross just seven minutes in. Twenty-five minutes later, it was the Korean’s turn to find the back of the net by slotting in a ball off Steph Burda’s free kick delivery. Burda provided again for Park eight minutes before the break, effectively putting the game far from Laos’ reach.
The beaten team, nonetheless, mustered enough to take a positive out of the contest. Hamed Hajimahdi scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute to make it 3-1 by full time.