KAYA FC–Iloilo took the first step of taking the Copa Paulino Alcantara to Iloilo by dismantling Global Cebu, 4-0, to set the tone in Group B.
Robert Lopez Mendy’s hat trick and Miguel Tanton’s well taken free kick did the damage for the victors.
Just two minutes into the game Lopez Mendy looked to have opened the scoring, when he climbed over his man to head in a corner. The goal was waved away, however, as there was a foul in the lead up.
Against a Global side without Darryl Roberts and Marvin Angeles, who were both ruled out during the warmups, Kaya enjoyed plenty of the ball. Halfway through the opening period, the match was an exercise in control for Iloilo, but without creating too many chances.
But in the 24th minute, Alfred Osei’s pass fell kindly for Robert at the edge of Global’s box, from where Lopez Mendy expertly curled in the game’s opening goal. He almost followed it up with an immediate second, only for his lifted attempt to go slightly over the bar.
The Senegalese striker and Antonio Ugarte both had chances to double the advantage, but neither could improve the advantage before the break.
The wait for the second didn’t last long, though. Just four minutes after the restart, Miguel Tanton fired in a beauty of a free kick to make it 2-0. Then, shortly before and after the hour mark, Lopez Mendy put the game beyond reach.
In the 55th minute, Alfred Osei robbed Charlie Beaton of the ball, passed it to Jovin Bedic, who then played in Robert for an emphatic finish.
Lopez Mendy’s header then creeped in in the 63rd minute to complete his third hat-trick of 2018, and his first in the Copa Paulino Alcantara.
“We’re happy to get the three points. We played the first half and the first 25 minutes of the second half really well. It was a mixed game, where we employed different approaches. In terms of objective, we were able to get the three points. But moving forward, if we really want to win the Copa Paulino Alcantara, we need to sustain for 90 minutes,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.
Unsurprisingly named Man of the Match for his hat-trick performance, Robert Lopez Mendy shared the reason behind his outstanding goal return in 2018.
“The reason why I’m in form is because of the team. The coaches, the management, the players, everyone wants to give 100%. We trust each other, and that’s the reason why we’re here. Me alone, I can’t do anything. Jovin is doing a great job this season, Miguel also — everyone. I think it’s not only me. I’m just lucky to be the guy to finish everything they’ve done,” he said.
“Overall it was okay. I won’t say it was great because I know we can do better. In the end, though, we scored four goals and we kept a clean sheet, so it was a good result.
Kaya is eager to make the most of a chance at redemption in the Copa Paulino Alcantara. In order to triumph in the cup, Iloilo has to progress from a three-team group with Global Cebu and JPV Marikina, overcome either Ceres Negros, Davao Aguilas, or Stallion Laguna in the semi-final, then win in the October 27 final at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. It’s quite a road ahead — one that Kaya hopes will take an important stop in Iloilo. (www.kayafc.com)