The tougher the opponent, the easier it seems for Kaya to rise to the occasion.
Reminding everyone of its caliber, a Kaya side virtually eliminated from title contention turned back Loyola Meralco, 3-1, on Tuesday night under heavy downpour at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig to put a dent on the Sparks’ own title chances in the United Football league.
Chris Greatwich fired a brace, while Anton del Rosario chipped in a goal as last year’s runner-up finally got the job done after failing in their last four games.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Kaya coach David Perkovic, whose wards were coming off a loss and three straight draws. “More important for me than the three points was the performance because since I got here, we’ve never played for ninety minutes. Today we played for ninety-plus minutes.”
It was Kaya’s first win since stunning defending champion Global, 3-2, in their last game of the first round. Kaya also gave front-running Stallion a run for its money in the last game before losing, 2-3.
With the loss, the Sparks remained stuck in third place with 32 points, two behind Global.
“With our changes throughout the season, it disrupts the message a little bit. It takes time to get that message across. That’s why performances haven’t been consistent,” said Perkovic, the Australian mentor among the squad’s new faces, who started to handle the squad with already a month gone by in the season.
“I think we just put it together for the big games, but we have to try and do it every game. The boys showed they have the quality to do it.”
Greatwich opened the scoring 20 minutes into the game, before James Younghusband equalized for the Sparks with a strike off a cross from Byeong Yeol Jeong.
Kaya, though, refused to be undone this time as Del Rosario found the back of the net right before halftime, before Greatwich scored his second goal early in the second half that proved enough for the victory.
Play was temporarily stopped seven minutes before second-half stoppage time due to lightning, but resumed with the Loyola never found the spark at the resumption of play.
“I was very pleased defensively,” Perkovic said. “We were very organized. Loyola’s a very good team in the attacking third, so to keep them to one goal is a good job for my defense.”