CHRIS GREATWICH scored in the 89th minute to snatch a dramatic victory for Kaya at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig City. Trailing from a Yoon Jang Ho strike early in the second half, the title contenders overcame losing three key players to overturn Pachanga PLDT Home Fibr. Stallion Giligan’s managed a similar feat in the match before, coming from behind to down Philippine Army-GTI.
“Felt a little bit like highway robbery. I thought Pachanga did well to disrupt our play and take advantage of our misfortunes in the first half. We had four guys come off in the first half injured. I don’t think that’ll ever happen again in my life. It was good for the boys to dig deep and get a result,” said Kaya coach David Perkovic.
Despite losing Pablo Rodriguez, Richard Greer, Masanari Omura and Miguel Tanton to injuries, Kaya managed to score two goals in the final six minutes to hand misery to their shellshocked opponents.
Yoon headed in three minutes after half-time to put Pachanga in control of the game. But with ten minutes remaining, goalkeeper Steve Yambou was adjudged to have held onto the ball more than the allotted six seconds inside his box, resulting in an indirect free kick – which Anton Del Rosario scored from. With Alu Kigbu sent off for a second caution, Pachanga’s numerical disadvantage took a toll. Five minutes later Janrick Soriano set up Greatwich to complete the incredible turnaround.
“I’m very disappointed. The breaks of the game went to Kaya. After the six-second call that’s when everything changed. My players played good football for the first 70 minutes.” said Noel Marcaida after the game. “I don’t think it was six seconds. We’re very upset because coming into this game I told the players that we should give ourselves a present. The best gift we could give ourselves is to get the three points. And the team showed what Pachanga was capable of.”
The victory keeps alive Kaya’s hope to capture the 2014 UFL League title, as they moved above Loyola Meralco Sparks into second place, seven points behind leaders Global. With four players forced out with injury in the match, the month-long break due to the looming Challenge Cup, gives Perkovic’s side a much needed rest.
Philippine Army-GTI gave Stallion Giligan’s a similar scare in the match prior, with Young Gi Min converting a penalty in the first half to set the stage for an upset.
The defending champions mounted a comeback in the second period, though, with Junior Gaye firing in the equalizer in the 70th minute – Stallion’s first goal since April 10. Shortly before, Naser Doroudian and Wilson Dela Cruz were sent off for a scuffle. Center back Sean Bateau fired in from long range 12 minutes later to complete the turnaround for coach Ernie Nierras.
“If we played like this in the beginning of the season, we would’ve been in a better situation,” said the Stallion mentor.