KAYA FC pounced on a Pachanga side that went a man down late and was on the wrong end of a questionable call, hacking out a 2-1 victory to keep its slim title hopes alive in the United Football League on Sunday night.
The tournament dark horse rallied from one goal down in the second half after Pachanga midfielder Alu Kigbu was sent off following two yellow-card infractions and goalkeeper Steve Yambou was penalized for apparently holding the ball too long, awarding Kaya an indirect free kick it turned into a goal.
“It felt a bit like highway robbery,” Kaya coach David Perkovic admitted after the match at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig. “Pachanga did a good job disrupting our play…but it was good for the boys to dig deep and get the result.”
Kaya, thus supplanted Loyola Meralco in second spot after jacking its point sum to 40, ahead of the Sparks on goal difference and seven points behind league-leading Global FC.
The LBC-backed squad also snapped Pachanga’s four-game winning streak, leaving its victim stuck in sixth place with 26 points.
It seemed Pachanga would keep its impressive run alive and do Global a favor after Yoon Jang Ho struck the opening goal three minutes after the restart, spurring an inspired showing for 30 more minutes.
But Kaya, which saw four starters in Pablo Rodriguez, Richard Greer, Masa Omura, and Miguel Tanton leave one after the other in the first half due to injuries, appeared to benefit when Kigbu was ejected in the 83rd.
Then Yambou, which had made several nice saves earlier, was called for holding the ball more than the maximum six seconds in the 84th minute, giving Kaya the free kick inside the box, which Anton del Rosario slotted home.
After a handful of missed attempts, Chris Greatwich finally found the back of the net five minutes later off a feed from Janrick Soriano for the go-ahead goal.
“Yung breaks ng game napunta sa Kaya,” said Pachanga coach Noel Marcaida, who felt his goalkeeper didn’t hold the ball that long. “Nabigla ako, biglang six-second rule. Nag-blow ng whistle after two, three seconds lang.”
“Nasisira yung magandang laro ‘dun sa mga calls na ‘yun,” added Marcaida, a goalkeeper in his playing days.