A valiant Kaya-Iloilo ended its 2021 AFC Champions League campaign with a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Vietnamese side Viettel, Sunday evening at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The result ensured that Kaya finished in last place of Group F with zero points.
On the other hand, Viettel ended its run in the competition in 3rd place with six points.
“We are disappointed again as we have nothing to show for our efforts,” said Kaya coach Graham Harvey. “In the first half, we were solid but struggled to get ourselves into attacking patterns, and we tried to get into a more attacking (position) but we didn’t get the opportunity to do that.”
Kaya was on the backfoot in the first period as Viettel kept bombarding its goal. It took heroics from goalkeeper Zach Banzon to keep the half goalless and preserve the clean sheet.
Forward Eric Ben Giganto had a sniff at goal at the other end, but his attempt went well off the target.
The second half proved to be disastrous for Kaya with multiple incidents.
Jovin Bedic had to come in for Giganto, who picked up an injury. Meanwhile, Simone Rota and Masanari Omura picked up red cards in the 53rd and 55th minutes respectively for last man fouls. Caique Lemes then opened the scoring with a free-kick past Banzon in the 57th-minute.
The Filipino club was on the receiving end of so many efforts by Viettel to double its lead. Audie Menzi was able to clear the ball off the line to keep the scores as they were; meanwhile, Banzon denied midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang with a fine stop.
“I’m hugely proud of our boys, seeing that they were able to defend with nine men,” furthered Harvey. “We were still making changes with 10 minutes to try and get a goal. They worked so hard even when down to nine men.”
Kaya XI:Banzon (GK), Omura, Angeles ©, Giganto, Daniels, Fujii, Daizo, De Bruycker, Rota, Felongco, Menzi.
Viettel XI: Que Ngoc Hai, B T Dung ©, Truong Van Thiet, Caique Lemes, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Tran Ngoc San, Jahongar Abdumuminov, Quang The Tai (GK), Nguyen Hoang Duc, Truong Tien Anh, Nguyen Trong Dai.