KAYA FC–Iloilo ensured not a single team in the Philippines Football League would escape defeat at their hands in the 2018 season, after dispatching of Global Cebu in commanding fashion on Wednesday afternoon.
Global was the only team Iloilo had yet to beat in this campaign, but second half goals from Robert Lopez Mendy, Antonio Ugarte, and Jovin Bedic made sure that record came to an emphatic end.
“It was really a game of two different halves. The second half was brilliant. Our players were able to recognize the massive space in between the defensive and midfield lines. We got our goals from those build ups,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida after the game.
“In the first half, we had a hard time getting a goal. We had eight shots, but only three of them on goal. In the second, we had less shots but we had more attempts on target.”
Aside from an early attempt from Joshua Beloya, Kaya FC–Iloilo controlled proceedings in the opening period. But possession of the ball wasn’t leading to clean chances, as Cebu did well to deal with Iloilo’s direct balls towards Robert and Connor Tacagni.
After a couple of half chances, Lopez Mendy was the first to force a save from either keeper. At the half-hour mark, the Senegalese striker cleverly touched the ball past his defender, then fired a low side-footed effort that was well stopped.
Then right before the half ended, Global got their best chance of the game. From a quick counter attack on the left flank, the ball was centered for Jinggoy Valmayor, whose stinging effort was palmed away by Ace Villanueva.
Kaya emerged from the break deadset on breaking the deadlock. Within just two minutes, Lopez Mendy had an attempt blocked and another one skip narrowly wide. Shortly after, he broke free on the left flank, cut inside his defender, and was brought down inside the box to earn a penalty.
Robert stepped up himself, and fired the opener into the bottom left corner.
Ten minutes later, he doubled his tally. Played in by Alfred Osei, Lopez Mendy got a touch to the ball before the onrushing keeper, allowing him a free path to the open net.
Late on, substitute Antonio Ugarte made it three for Kaya with a well-taken finish from outside the box. Jovin Bedic added the exclamation right before the final whistle, with a spectacular volley taken from a throw in.
The result steered Iloilo closer to their goal of securing second spot in the PFL.
“Scoring goals is what I always want, and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Man of the Match Robert Lopez Mendy.
“I think the performance was okay. In the first half, we were in such a rush to score, that’s why I think we missed a lot of chances. In the second half, we tried to build up. We tried to play out with the ball and receive the ball in between the lines and create chances. We were able to score four goals, so it was okay.”
“We have to give them credit for that,” he said of Global’s resistance. “Even if they lack players, they still have good players, so it’ll never be easy to play them.”
Kaya now return home for their final league match in Iloilo, where they face Global Cebu once more. The game will take place on Saturday, 3 p.m., at the Iloilo Sports Complex. (www.kayafc.com)