CARMONA, CAVITE – Kaya Iloilo spoiled the night United City was supposed to bask in the glory of their coronation as champions of the 2020 Philippines Football League (PFL) brought to you by Qatar Airways with a shocking 2-1 triumph Monday at the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) National Training Center. Kaya managed to achieve what four other squads failed to do and inflict a loss on the champions who were simply unstoppable through their first four matches.
Coach Frank Muescan opted to rest his superstars and give his reserves the starting roles and Kaya was quick to capitalize with first half goals from Kenshiro Daniels and Carlyle Mitchell.
Daniels conspired with Eric Giganto to knock in the first goal in the 15th minute. Daniels then continued to be active by executed a good corner that found Mitchell in the 38th to settle the halftime count and then held their collective breaths.
UCFC made its move by bringing in their big guns one by one beginning with Bienvenido Maranon and Takashi Odawara at the start of the second half. However, the two-goal hole proved too deep to climb out even as Manny Ott cut the gap with his goal in the 83rd minute.
The action and physicality intensified going into the extra four minutes as UCFC scrambled to salvage at least a draw. Kaya hung tough with Mitchell and goalkeeper Louie Michael Casas managing to hold off several close chances by UCFC.
Kaya thus secured a runner-up finish with 11 points and will now officially join the champions as the country’s representatives to the 2021 AFC Champions League. Kaya though will need to go through a series of qualifiers to join UCFC in the 40-team main competition.
UCFC Chief Executive Officer Eric Gottschalk received the trophy from PFF President Mariano Araneta and PFL Commissioner Mikhail Torre in simple rites after the match. The team also swept the individual awards with Stephan Schrock winning the Golden Ball or the equivalent of Most Valuable Player, Maranon the Golden Boot for his seven goals in five matches and Anthony Pinthus the Golden Glove for conceding only a solitary goal in four matches.
There is one more match left in the balance this Thursday with Stallion Laguna facing Mendiola 1991.