By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Kaya FC-Iloilo maintained its no. 1 spot in the 2022 Philippines Football League (PFL) after escaping the tough Stallion Laguna FC, 2-1, last October 30, 2022.
Fresh off a two-match winning streak against Mendiola FC 1991 and Maharlika Manila FC, the Ilonggo booters continued their surging offense against Stallion Laguna and quickly got to a 2-0 lead in the first half.
In a scramble for possession in the midfield, Daizo Horikoshi was in the right place at the right time to head the ball into the back of the net to draw first blood.
Ryo Fujii developed the play after sending a lob cross pass to Marco Casambre on the left side of the pitch who delivered a touch pass to Horikoshi.
13 minutes after the Horikoshi conversion, Kaya FC doubled their lead after Jhan Jhan Melliza’s crisp long kick that went past Stallion’s goalkeeper.
It was again a well-coordinated play from Kaya FC after Horikoshi placed a tremendous through ball pass that perfectly went to Melliza’s kicking spot inside the penalty area.
Just when the half was about to close, Stallion Laguna ended the last four minutes on a high note after scoring a goal courtesy of Kouichi Belgira in the 41st minute.
Kaya FC had the chance to clinch their third goal of the match after Fitch Arboleda was awarded a penalty kick when Stallion’s Gabriel Silva held him down the pitch.
However, Stallion’s goalkeeper read Robert Lopez Mendy’s kick well after jumping quickly into his left side for an easy save.
The match figured into a highly-physical back-and-forth but it was Kaya FC who got the last laugh while earning win no. 9.
Iloilo will have their last elimination game of the season when they face their main rival squad United City FC (former Ceres-Negros FC) on November 12, 2022.