THE impressive run of Kaya FC-Makati of late in the Philippines Football League (PFL) was maintained by the club on Sunday as it rolled to its fifth straight victory which in turn gifted it the tournament leadership.
Defeated Ilocos United FC, 2-1, at the University of Makati Stadium, Kaya improved its record to eight wins, two draws and three losses for 26 points, two points clear of erstwhile league-leader FC Meralco Manila (7-3-1).
The win incidentally was the second for Kaya over Ilocos in as many games after it defeated the latter, 5-2, last Wednesday also at UMak.
While it managed to continue its roll in the newly formed national football league last time around, it did not come easy for Kaya though as it had to dig deep against an Ilocos club determined to give out a better showing than the previous game.
Kaya broke the scoring drought in the match in the 32nd minute when forward Robert Mendy buried the game’s first goal off an assist from teammate Marwin Angeles.
The team would hold command thereafter until Jonathan Kanayama pulled Ilocos even with a penalty shot in the 63rd minute.
The two teams scrambled to seize control with the outcome of the match still very much open.
But Kaya would beat Ilocos to the draw when Jordan Mintah pulled off for his team in the 81st minute to go up, 2-1, which it will hold on to up to full time.
“It was a tough game. It’s really difficult to play back-to-back games against the same team. This was the kind of match where we struggled to create opportunities. Ilocos really played well defensively. But I’m really happy for the Kaya players, they responded well after that goal scored by Ilocos,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida after their hard-earned win.
“We’ll take it. Three points, number The Kaya coach went on to underscore that hard work has been doing it for them in this current winning run of theirs.
“Basically it’s been hard work. It all boils down to the players’ hard work. Despite the heavy schedule, the players are very disciplined making sure they recover quickly and that they’re fit to play,” said Mr. Marcaida.
Its latest defeat, meanwhile, kept Ilocos (0-3-9) winless in the PFL. It has been competing better of late but just cannot go over the hump just yet.
Earlier in the day, Stallion Laguna FC (2-4-7) made it back-to-back wins, coming from behind and downing the downward-spiralling JPV Marikina FC, 2-1.
Goals in the last five minutes from Gabrielle Mascazzini (87’) and Jesus Melliza (89’) allowed Stallion to pull the rug from under JPV (6-0-6), which was first to the board in the 10th minute.
It was the fourth straight defeat for JPV after going as high as second place in the standings.