LOYOLA Meralco squandered a late lead to settle to a 1-1 draw against a Kaya side still without a head coach on Tuesday night in the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
The Sparks’ Phil Younghusband drew first blood before Kaya equalized with a late goal from Sean Iliff to seal the stalemate.
The Sparks, who began the season with four straight wins, remained in second place behind Global with 13 points, while Kaya (1-2-2 win-draw-loss) stayed in sixth place with five points.
“It’s disappointing,” Younghusband said. “Being one-zero up, if we want to win the league, we should have not been conceding late goals like that. But scoring a point against one of the top sides is not a bad result.”
After the conversion of the Sparks’ star player at the 62nd minute, Kaya was not to be outdone, retaliating behind American-Vietnamese Iliff who caught a free kick from teammate Antonio Ugarte with a successful header that found the back of the net just four minutes before stoppage time.
“A draw was a fair result. We would’ve liked the win, obviously, but both teams fought hard. After the (Younghusband) goal, it seemed like we stepped up our game so we were able to get that goal,” the 29-year-old Iliff said as his team is still reeling from the abrupt resignation of coach Maor Rozen two weeks ago
“It’s been hard, weird timing to lose a coach right now, but the team’s done really well to stay together. We’re gonna keep fighting until we find another coach.
“For now, we’ll be alright.”
Iliff’s strike was the first goal the Sparks conceded in three games.
“I think they (Kaya) deserve something from the game,” Younghusband said.
“Compared to other games where we probably dominated, they had a bit more of a game today. Fair play to them, they probably kept the ball better than us, but being in such an advantageous position, we should be closing out games (better).”