KAYA-ILOILO FC got back to winning on Saturday, defeating Davao Aguilas FC anew, 2-1, in their Philippines Football League (PFL) match at the Iloilo Sports Complex.
Conquered the Aguilas, 4-2, in its first game in Iloilo last month, Kaya made it 2-of-2 over the former by digging deep and fending off a tough challenge from Davao all game long.
The win incidentally was a bounce back for Kaya after being tripped to a defeat in its previous game against Global Cebu FC.
Davao played dominant in the opening half, testing tremendously the defense of the undermanned Iloilo side which played sans key cogs Jordan Mintah (injury), Robert Lopez Mendy (suspension) and Alfred Osei (suspension).
But the Kaya crew proved up to the challenge, standing their ground amid the pressure given to it and keep the game scoreless at the halfway point of the match.
Feeling good about what they managed to do in the first half, the Iloilo players came out in the second fold with more bounce to their game.
Their aggressiveness paid off after eight minutes as Kinshero Daniels fired a rocket past Davao goalkeeper Nick O’Donnell to make it 1-0.
The Aguilas scrambled to get back the point after.
In the 74th minute, James Younghusband would tie the knot at 1-1 with a header.
The deadlock was short-lived though as three minutes later Masanari Omura scored a tap-in off a corner kick that sent their faithful to celebration as they went back up, 2-1.
Davao tried to recover from it but Kaya would stay on top of things and went on to send the victory to the dock.
Following the victory, Iloilo coach Noel Marcaida gave credit to his players for staying the course amid their missing pieces and the spirited fight that Davao showed.
“It was a long 90 minutes. It was really tough. I give all the credit to my players. They really worked hard from the start of the game until the last whistle,” said Mr. Marcaida.
“The discipline of the players, and the hard work brought us this victory. And this victory is sweeter than the last time we beat Davao here. This is the type of game where players deserve to celebrate,” he added.
The victory took Kaya (7-1-3) to 22 points after 11 matches, eight points clear of the third-placed Aguilas (4-2-5), and three points behind leaders Ceres Negros FC (8-1-1), which was forced to a 1-1 draw by JPV Marikina FC also on Saturday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo