Two strikers not unknown to the Philippine football community made huge impact to guide their respective teams to midweek triumphs in Wednesday’s Philippines Football League action.
In Makati, Jordan Mintah bagged his first hat-trick in the league to steer Kaya-Makati past visiting Ilocos United on their way to the top of the PFL standings. Earlier that day, Jhanjhan Melliza of produced a brace to seal his team’s first win in the league against JPV-Marikina.
The main event saw Kaya-Makati march their way towards the top of the PFL table following a 5-2 thumping of Ilocos United at the University of Makati Football Field. It all started with Mintah’s wonderfully-finished strike in less than 10 minutes of the game.
The visitors did not fold easily, however, and got themselves back in the game when they were awarded a spot kick just before the half-hour mark. Graham Caygill won a penalty kick after being fouled by Alfred Osei. John Kanayama made no mistake from the spot to set up an exciting match between two attack-minded squads.
The deadlock didn’t take too long to be broken when the Ghanaian forward notched his second of the night. In the 34th minute, he towered above everyone else to nod the ball from a corner kick into the back of the net. This time around, Kaya-Makati managed to preserve the advantage come halftime.
A more entertaining second half ensued beginning with Robert Lopez Mendy getting himself in the scoresheet 13 minutes after the restart. It marks his second straight game on the scoresheet. Another striker who’s no stranger to scoring was Eric Giganto who made it four for Noel Marcaida’s team towards the final minutes of the match.
The Ilocanos pulled one back through a Caygill free kick late into the match. Nonetheless, it didn’t truly dampen the mood of the Kaya-Makati fans in attendance as Mintah hit back straight after. The former Stallion striker nodded the ball in to seal his first ever hattrick in the PFL.
Speaking after the match, the Ghanaian striker told Kaya FC that registering his first career treble in the PFL was no mean feat. “I worked so hard for it. But the entire team worked so hard for it as well. So I thank the teamwork too.”
Hard work is also what Marcaida cited in his post-game assessment of his wards. “The players have really been playing consistently in training. And also, the players have been able to manage themselves to recover despite the heavy schedule that we’ve had this July,” the gaffer shared to Kaya FC.
In the day’s first match, the Stallion-Laguna looked eager to take advantage of skidding JPV-Marikina, a team that topped the table for a brief time earlier this season. Through the dependable Melliza, the one-time United Football League champions were able to do just that.
A defensive lapse allowed the former FEU Tamaraw forward to finish with ease 16 minutes into the game. Gifted with possession by JPV-Marikina goalkeeper Nelson Gasic, Melliza clinically finished the one-on-one play by sneaking it into the net from just outside of the box. The men in light blue then stood firm to deny their visitors from equalizing before halftime.
Holding a slender lead entering the second half, Stallion stayed aware of JPV-Marikina’s threat to which they dealt with until full time. Moreover, they got an insurance goal in the 63rd minute when immense pressure on the JPV defense led to Melliza’s second goal of the game. The Philippines international hit the post before pounding on the rebound to make the Laguna-based team’s lead safer.
After the final whistle was blown, Stallion-Laguna celebrated their first win of the season that permitted them to overtake Davao Aguilas into sixth in the standings. It left Ilocos United, due to their loss to Kaya-Makati, now two points behind the seventh-placed Aguilas.
Meanwhile at the top, Kaya-Makati (+10) own a superior goal difference to separate them from Meralco-Manila (+5), who have two games in hand. Both Metro Manila teams have 23 points. Global-Cebu and Ceres-Negros complete the top four with their 21 and 19 points after 11 and nine games respectively. Not far behind are JPV-Marikina, who have been stuck at 18 points following three defeats on the trot.
The four sides who saw action today will meet the same opposition again on Sunday with kickoff times remaining the same as well. A day before that, Meralco-Manila and Ceres-Negros will host Global-Cebu and Davao Aguilas respectively.
Credits to Jing Jamlang and Kaya FC