Kaya FC-Iloilo salvages 1-1 draw vs PSM Makassar

MARWIN Angeles’ injury time goal ensured Kaya FC–Iloilo and PSM Makassar shared the spoils in Tuesday afternoon’s AFC Cup match at the Pakansari Stadium.

The dramatic late equalizer canceled out Eero Markkanen’s penalty, ensuring the Philippine club remain top of Group H after three matches.

“It was a really tough game. PSM were really dangerous whenever they received the ball in front of our defensive line. It wasn’t our best performance, but it was our big heart that allowed us to get that late goal. All in all we deserved to get that point. And with that away goal, it gives us a boost ahead of our game in Bacolod. I’m proud of my boys,” said head coach Noel Marcaida.

Kaya started the match in commanding fashion, dictating play for the opening 15 minutes. Jordan Mintah came closest just after the 10-minute mark. He poked the ball away from his defender to set up a one-on-one with the goalkeeper but was denied by a good stop.

Darryl Roberts had several attempts to open the scoring as well. First he fired narrowly wide from the edge of the box, then came close with a headed effort. PSM settled midway through the half and started threatening with clever balls in behind the defense.

On two occasions Michael Casas needed to intervene in breakaway situations. Despite both sides getting chances, the first half finished scoreless.

The deadlock was broken just 10 minutes after the break. Jalsor Soriano under hit a back pass to the goalkeeper, which forced Camelo Tacusalme into a race with Eero Markkanen.

The two collided just outside the box, which the referee adjudged to be a penalty. Markkanen stepped up himself and slid the spot kick under Casas for the opening goal.

Iloilo ramped up the pressure as they chased the game. 15 after conceding, Connor Tacagni looked to have headed Kaya level from a free kick, but his attempt was ruled out for offside.

Shortly after, Masanari Omura had an attempt cleared off the line. With fifteen minutes remaining, an injured Jalsor Soriano needed to come off, paving the way for Chy Villaseñor’s AFC Cup debut. He joined the fray alongside Yannick Tuason, who replaced Tacagni.

Tuason was almost the super sub as he had a headed effort tapped over the bar. It seemed an equalizer was going to remain elusive, but in the 93rd minute, Jovin Bedic’s free kick found Marwin Angeles all alone inside the box.

With only the keeper to beat, the midfielder chested the ball and calmly slotted it into the net to secure a dramatic draw.

“It was a collective effort. My 11 players really worked hard, from the goalkeeper to the striker. My players really had that fighting mentality. We nullified their obvious physical advantage, especially in set pieces,” said Marcaida. “This point gives us a lot of confidence heading into our home game.”

Both teams remain tied atop Group H with five points, with Kaya FC–Iloilo ahead on goal difference. The two meet again in two weeks, at the Panaad Stadium on April 17. (www.kayafc.com)