Kaya FC-Iloilo successfully defends home pitch against Air Force

The Air Force defenders bow their heads after a Kaya FC-Iloilo goal (Leobert Julian A. de la Peña)

By: Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

“Unauna Kaya Kaya!”

Ilonggos screamed their hearts out as they cheered on the Kaya team to victory

The Kaya players fed off the energy from a raucous Iloilo Sports Complex crowd as they bathed in the encouragement of the Ilonggos.

Kaya FC-Iloilo played their first home game of the season and succeeded in protecting their home pitch against a hungry Air Force FC in a tightly contested match, 2-1.

Both teams played a measured game as they tried to poke at each others’ offensive and defensive schemes.

As the game progressed both teams became aggressive in looking for opportunities to score.

Air Force was the first to have a solid and clean attempt but was saved by Kaya’s goalkeeper, Ace Villanueva.

Seconds after the Villanueva save, he instantly fell to the ground and took some time to recover, he eventually stood up and played for a couple of minutes.

After a few possessions later, Villanueva again dropped to the pitch and was stretchered off, replaced by Zach Banzon.

Minutes after the incident and seemingly motivated to avenge the loss of their teammate, Kaya scored a goal courtesy of Connor Tacagni.

Three minutes after the Tacagni goal, Kenshiro Daniels followed it up with a beautiful tap inside the box for a 2-0 lead.

Drawing near to the half, Alexandro Elnar burst into the right side of the pitch and displayed dazzling ball control to slice through the Kaya defense and cashed in a goal to keep the Air Force within striking distance, 2-1.

In the second half, the Air Force defensive tenacity showed up, matching Kaya’s speed and skill.

Bodies banging, bodies falling, heads clashing.

With the second half being played with more intensity and competitiveness, both teams could not get into any rhythm.

Kaya missed the services of star striker Jordan Mintah due to an injury and is still questionable for their next game at the Iloilo Sports Complex on September 25.