KAYA FC–Iloilo suffered a second successive defeat to rivals Ceres Negros on Saturday night as OJ Porteria’s solitary strike in the first half decided the close encounter.
The reigning champions survived an early red card, the dismissal of their head coach, and a penalty to hold on to an important three points.
“Every time we play against Ceres it’s always a tough game. I thought we started really well. I think we created chances throughout the game and we had more possession,” said a disappointed Noel Marcaida after the match.
“We could have evened the game in the early minutes of the second half. If we score that penalty it could’ve been a different story. I think we would’ve pushed on and gotten the three points.”
Under heavy rains at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas, Kaya got off to a flying start.
Within the opening 10 minutes, both Jovin Bedic and Shirmar Felongco had attempts from the edge of the area whiz by the goal frame. But
Negros struck first through OJ Porteria just after the quarter-hour mark. From the left flank, Stephan Schrock found room to rifle an effort across goal, which was tapped in by the former Kaya player.
Ceres went down to 10 men shortly before the break when Sean Kane got tossed for his choice of language with the referee. His head coach, Risto Vidakovic joined him in the stands as he was tossed from the match a few minutes later.
Kaya emerged from the break determined to find a way back, and not more than two minutes after the restart they were given the perfect opportunity, after Ceres were called for a handball inside the box. Jovin Bedic stepped up to take the penalty, but his effort down the middle cannoned off the crossbar.
With a man advantage, Iloilo continued to enjoy more of the ball, but struggled to open up the opposition’s compact shape. Eric Giganto and Yannick Tuason came on to hunt for the equalizer, but it was Darryl Roberts who had the best chance five minutes from time.
Momentarily through on goal, the forward’s attempt was on target, but cleared off the line.
As frustration started to grow, Bedic picked up a second yellow card and was subsequently sent off, adding to the disappointment of another tough defeat against Ceres Negros.
“The way we played, we deserved at least a point from this game. We were very unlucky not to get anything,” said Marcaida. “We still have two more games against Ceres. Those games are crucial. There’s no other option but to get a maximum six points in those games. Hopefully we can play those matches in Iloilo where we can rely on the boost from our 12th man.”