JORDAN Mintah was the hero for Kaya FC–Iloilo as they managed to snatch all three points against a stubborn Green Archers United on Wednesday afternoon in the Philippines Football League.
The match looked headed for a goalless stalemate, but the Ghanaian forward produced a moment of brilliance to give his side an important victory at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.
“We came into this game fully aware of how vital it was to get the three points. Over the 90 minutes our hard work paid off,” said a relieved Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida after the game.
Although only the solitary goal decided the contest, chances to score were certainly not lacking. A quarter of an hour in, Jayson Panhay forced the first save of the game with a curling free kick that was destined for the far corner.
Mintah then had two attempts denied by the keeper: one from distance, and one from close range after a lovely exchange with Jovin Bedic.
Green Archers had an opportunity of their own as well through former Kaya B standout, Tonaldo Appiah, who was a constant threat up top for United.
In the 27th minute he was fed through for a one-on-one, but Ace Villanueva did well to smother his approach before he could pull the trigger.
Jordan had a couple more opportunities go begging shortly after the restart, allowing Green Archers to get their best chance at taking the lead.
With room to fire from five meters outside of the box, John Marcella struck a rocket that hit the underside of the crossbar and out.
“That moment was a wake-up call for us. After that we really started applying more pressure on them,” said Marcaida.
As the half reached closer to the finish, Eric Giganto and Arnel Amita joined early substitute Darryl Roberts to help pick up the tempo. Each had a look at goal shortly after coming on, contributing to an attacking wave that also saw Bedic come close.
Finally, three minutes from time the deadlock was broken. From a poorly cleared corner kick, Jalsor Soriano looped a ball back into the danger zone. Jordan collected, turned his man, stumbled, but managed to keep his composure to poke past the keeper.
“It was a great team effort. Archers played a low block and were difficult to break down, but we had chance after chance. They were dangerous on the counter as well, but our defense was solid. I was there to pull of some saves as well,” said Ace Villanueva, who was key in preserving the slender victory.
“This is a game where we created lots of chances. But for us to have an easier path to victory, we have to make sure we’re hitting the target. We have to make sure that we capitalize on these chances that we are getting,” added Marcaida.
The win pushed Kaya FC–Iloilo to 28 points after 12 outings, three behind leaders Ceres Negros, who also have a game in hand. Iloilo next face Global Cebu in a week’s time.