Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo winger Daizo Horikoshi insisted that his club needs to be more in sync after committing costly errors in their AFC Champions League 2023-2024 group stage opener against Shandong Taishan FC on Tuesday, September 19.
Kaya FC absorbed a 3-1 loss against the visitors.
“For me, we have [played like a] team more, [the same] about what we want, so we need to communicate more as a team, including staff and coaches,” the Japanese import said.
In the first ever AFC match to be played on Philippine soil, Kaya quickly fell to a 0-2 hole in the second half.
Moises Lima Magalhaes converted a penalty in the 63rd minute after Ricky Sendra tagged an attacker inside the box, before Matheus Pato took advantage of an errant Fitch Arboleda pass-back intended for goalkeeper Quincy Kammeraad eight minutes later.
The reigning Philippines Football League winners took one back in the 79th behind Jarvey Gayoso’s run, but another defensive lapse led to Crysan Barcelos capping Shandong Taishan’s win with a conversion in stoppage time.
“The opponent played better, but we really played well, especially the first half. Our first two goals were our mistakes also, so we have to improve more about that part,” Horikoshi added.
“I think we can play more well against Shandong, and also Yokohama and Incheon. We have to improve more and focus on the next game,” he added.
Kaya’s head coach for the Champions League, Colum Curtis, entered the match with the mindset that the country’s top local squad can “ruffle some feathers” and score upsets, but the awakening on Tuesday slapped the club with the reality that its driven mentality must translate on the field.
“I guess it’s just part of the game. They were able to capitalize on the attempts that they had. We just need a bit more discipline, being able to track back and to defend,” Gayoso said, adding that his strike was all for naught in a tough loss.
“For sure it’s not gonna rank high because we came out with a loss,” he added.
Still, the ace forward out of Ateneo de Manila University commended his teammates for coming up with a gusty effort against the Chinese Super League runners-up.
“I think, despite the scoreline, I’m so proud of the boys. We gave it our all. We fought in the field. We did what we trained for, what we prepared for, we could take every positive from this game,” he said.
Kaya will play its next two games in October against Incheon United of South Korea and the Yokohama F. Marinos overseas — something Horikoshi looks forward to as he hails from the Yokohama prefecture.
“It’s my dream also for my family to watch the game, especially the [AFC] is the highest level in Asia, so I want to play [there]. But I want to win also, so we have to improve and practice more,” he said. (ABS-CBN News)