By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Dynamic Herb Cebu FC got out of the noisy and electric Iloilo Sports Complex with a momentum-clinching win after nipping Kaya FC-Iloilo, 3-2, during the 2023 Philippines Football League (PFL) restart last February 19, 2023.
Despite the loud cheers from the fans of the home bets, the rolling booters from Cebu found a way to silence the crowd after outworking the llonggos for 90 straight minutes.
Cebu quickly got ahead when Daniel Gadia found the back of the net in the 24th minute, heading the looping free ball past the Kaya FC defenders inside the penalty box.
The Ilonggos then responded with an equalizing goal from star striker Daizo Horikoshi after a precise thundering kick from 25 yards away 11 minutes after the Gadia opener.
After the explosive start, both squads quickly figured in a chess match as Cebu and Iloilo made their adjustments and countered each other’s sets.
However, Cebu once again entered the scoring column in the 50th minute when Leaford Anthony Allen capitalized on a crucial error committed by Iloilo’s Arnel Amita and shot past defender Kenry Balobo to break the deadlock, 2-1.
Iloilo tried to ramp up the intensity after an immediate personnel change and went from a defensive-oriented scheme to a more aggressive gameplay in the last 40 minutes of action.
Just when the Ilonggos thought they already built enough momentum to weather the storm and kick off the comeback, the Cebuanos made the Iloilo Sports Complex their home after cashing in a goal in the 55th-minute courtesy of Jacob Liao.
Horikoshi would complete his brace in the 61st minute of the match but his heroics weren’t enough to salvage Kaya FC’s first home stand of the year.
This is the second time that the Cebuanos got the better of the Ilonggos in the PFL. The first win was on their home pitch at Dynamic Herb last October where they got away with a 3-2 win.