Kaya FC snatched victory from the jaws of a mundane draw against New Radiant in the former’s first ever AFC Cup match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The match that promised so much never really delivered. OJ Porteria’s goal in the 95th minute, quite literally the last kick of the game, was the only real talking point. He slammed home Jim Munoz’s cross from the right to register a 1-0 win for the home side. Goalkeeper Sulemana Abu never stood a chance.
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New Radiant manager, Yordan Stoykov, will be hugely disappointed by the result but very happy with the attitude his players portrayed after he claimed that Kaya were the best side in the group in the build-up to the encounter.
They held the hosts for practically the entire game and will take great heart from this. While there was nothing attractive about his side’s performance, his players did exactly what was asked of them and that was dig their heels in and show character.
The only regret will be Yaugoob Abdulla’s missed opportunity after 75 minutes. The future of Kaya’s AFC Cup campaign looked to be under serious threat as the Philippine side seemed destined to be left with only one point after two games.
However, Porteria’s heroics will go a long way to boosting morale at the club as they now have a reasonable chance of advancing into the knockout phase of the competition. At the conclusion of both games in Group F, the table is topped by Balestier Khalsa with four points.
Kitchee and Kaya both have three points and the same goal difference and so they occupy second and third respectively. While New Radiant lie fourth with only a single point.