By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo made its way to the finals of the 2023 Copa Paulino Alcantara after a 2-1 win over the Stallion-Laguna Football Club in the Leg 2 of two-leg semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium over the weekend.
Overall, the Iloilo City-based football club clinched the semifinals series with an aggregate score of 4-2 after a 2-1 victory over Stallion-Laguna in the first leg over a week ago.
In the second leg of the semis, Kaya-Iloilo quickly gained a 1-0 advantage in the 18th minute as Ricardo Sendra connected on a strike which crossed the goal line before the defense cleared it.
However, Stallion-Laguna managed to tie the score 10 minutes later as Zachary Ford quickly made his presence felt off the bench with a close-range connection past the defense of Kaya-Iloilo.
Kaya-Iloilo regained the advantage in the 48th minute as Daizo Horikoshi had his cross redirected into the back of the net, and since then, they have held on to the defense the rest of the way.
Kaya-Iloilo head coach Colum Curtis said he was pleased with the adjustments shown by his players as he hopes that they will continue to play well in the finals against the Davao Aguilas Football Club.
“The first day of the semifinals, I was not very happy. Our first half performance that time was very, very poor. But, in the second half, we stuck to the game plan and we’re able to win it,” Curtis said.
“We made some adjustments [in the second leg] and the boys carried those adjustments really, really well,” he said.
“There’s no point in going to the finals if we don’t win the trophy. So we will do everything to bring home the trophy,” he added.
Audie Menzi, who was named Man of the Match, said their Leg 2 adjustments played a key role in their victory, but he admitted that they failed to capitalize on some of their goal chances.
“Madami kaming chances para sana maka-score ng goal, but we failed to take advantage of it,” Menzi said.
“Siguro, sa finals na lang bubuhos ‘yung mga goal conversions namin,” he added./ASC, WDJ