Kaya FC–Iloilo begin Copa Paulino Alcantara defense with a bang

KAYA FC–Iloilo kicked off the defense of their Copa Paulino Alcantara in style on Saturday afternoon at the Aboitiz Pitch, blanking Philippine Air Force, 5-0, in a convincing display of lockdown defense and attacking power.

Jayson Panhay, Kenshiro Daniels, Connor Tacagni, and Marwin Angeles all found the back of the net for the hosts.

While the final score pointed at a straightforward narrative, Kaya needed half an hour to breach the Airmen’s back line.

Jordan Mintah perhaps should’ve opened the scoring much earlier, but his pointblank attempt just 10 minutes in was saved— one of a host of chances in the game that would frustrate the league’s top scorer.

The Ghanaian forward would go on to connect with three well delivered balls into the box in the same period, but his headed attempts were either off target or smothered by the keeper.

The breakthrough happened almost immediately after Darryl Roberts pulled up with an injury and needed to be replaced by Kenshiro Daniels.

Masanari Omura played a perfectly measured pass over the top for Panhay, who expertly cushioned the ball into his stride, and kept his nerve with only the keeper to beat.

Four minutes later, Daniels rounded his man with a clever a touch, and doubled the lead with a smooth finish.

Less than five minutes later, Tacagni broke free from his marker and headed in Panhay’s corner kick to give Iloilo a comfortable lead at the break.

“I thought it was important to bounce back after our last result. It’s important to start the Cup with the win, and it was pretty convincing as well. We did well to score as many as we did in the first half. Coach just said to go on and get as many as we could, but we struggled a little bit early in the second. We could’ve gotten more chances, and more goals, but at the end of the day, we’re pretty happy with the result and the performance of the guys,” said Man of the Match Connor Tacagni.

“I’m happy for my players, they worked hard for it. We finished the game early by scoring three goals in the first half. We started the second and were rushing things a little. But when we settled down after 20 minutes we started creating lots of chances, got our fifth, and sealed the game,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida. “In general, I’m happy. With how we approached the game, you can see we have a deep rotation. From start to finish we had the materials to finish the 90 minutes strong. Everyone stepped up.”

Kaya started the second half where they left off — bossing possession and manufacturing chances. Air Force’s goalkeeper performed heroically to survive an initial wave of attacks, but a fourth was inevitable, and it arrived in rather comical fashion.

Under pressure inside their own box, an attempted clearance deflected off of Kenshiro’s back side and into the net. With twenty minutes remaining, Marwin Angeles added the exclamation with a low drive from the edge of the box.

“I commend Maru for getting his first goal for the season, and also Connor for his first Man of the Match,” added Marcaida after the game.

Meanwhile, Air Force head coach Leo Jaena conceded his side’s quality was lacking against the defending Copa Paulino Alcantara champions.

“Nagawa namin yung tactics namin. Na-stop namin si Jordan, pero ang problema namin, hindi namin napantayan yung level nung ibang players ng Kaya,” he said.