With Global seven points ahead in the title race, Kaya’s faint hopes of catching the League leaders in the final stretch of the campaign dimmed further after a dismal defeat to Green Archers United Globe at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill, Taguig City.
The fifth-placed club utilized solid defending coupled with blistering counter-attacks to stifle and stun the beleaguered title hopefuls. Goals in either half from Robert Lopez Mendy did the damage for Rodolfo Alicante’s side. In the earlier match, Stallion Giligan’s shrugged aside Team Socceroo with an identical scoreline.
“I think 90% of our game plan was executed. When we played low, Kaya found it difficult. It’s as if they didn’t know what to do with the ball. Whether they played long or through the middle, we took the ball from them. That’s the type of game we want to play. Against strong teams we have to counter-attack, we can’t go head to head,” said Alicante after the match.
Mendy opened the scoring 10 minutes before half-time, converting a beautifully taken lob that bypassed the onrushing keeper Manuel Saubach. The goal was well deserved for the Archers, who had got back into the match after a bright start from Kaya. 20 minutes after the restart, the Senegalese frontman struck again, firing in Jovanie Simpron’s clever cutback to double the advantage. Aside from one save from Patrick Deyto in the first half, when Christian Ayew almost volleyed in the game’s opener, United were relatively untroubled at the back.
“Firstly I’d like to congratulate Archers. They had a game plan, they stuck to it, and it worked for them today. For us it was always going to be a difficult match because of the number of players,” said Kaya coach David Perkovic. After suffering injuries to key players Richard Greer, Masanari Omura, and Pablo Rodriguez in their last match, the club was forced to field the four players who had recently returned from the Maldives for Philippine National Team duty in the Challenge Cup. Given Anton del Rosario, Chris Greatwich, Kenshiro Daniels, and OJ Porteria received very little playing time in the tournament, Perkovic didn’t expect the nationals to exude the expected rhythm. He was proved correct by the rather substandard performances against Green Archers. One bright spot to the defeat, however, came in the form of Aly Borromeo completing his first 90 minutes in two years.
“Aly’s had a long time out of football. He still needs to get some rhythm with how the game goes. His touches were pretty good today. It’s just that his positioning needs to be a bit better. He’s a guy who has a lot of courage and never says no to anything. For a guy who’s had so many injuries, to still persevere and come back, he’ll take that attitude into his role, whatever his role is for the remainder of the season,” said Perkovic.
Kaya can fall 10 points behind Global if the league leaders win against Philippine Army-GTI on Thursday. With four matches remaining in Kaya’s campaign, the hopes of a title look slimmer than ever. With the win, Green Archers improve to 30 points, just five behind fourth placed Stallion.
Jose Luis Lozano scored a stunner from 30 meters out to start the scoring for Stallion Giligan’s in the earlier match. A fumble from Socceroo keeper Roland Cabaniero allowed Joevic Albino a tap in late in the match to round out the scoring.