Goals either side of half-time sealed a vital victory for Kaya Makati over rivals Global Cebu. The win at the University of Makati moved Kaya one triumph away from a guaranteed spot in the fast approaching Finals Series — a two-legged semifinal involving the top four clubs in the Philippines Football League.
“We’re very happy with the result. We were able to get maximum points against Global,” said Makati head coach Noel Marcaida, who noted the match wasn’t the explosive affair he had expected to be.
“For me, it was a very unusual atmosphere. Kaya Makati versus Global is the type of game where the intensity should be very high,” he said. “I think we started the first 10 minutes with high intensity. During that period we got the goal. Then the intensity went down. It wasn’t the best game we’ve had, but in the end it was comfortable.”
Jordan Mintah opened the scoring with a fine finish eight minutes into the contest. From a throw in deep inside Kaya’s half, Robert Lopez Mendy looped a ball into the path of his strike partner. In between two Global defenders, Jordan outmuscled Denis Villanueva, raced into the box, and fired a fine low strike across goal.
“I wasn’t expecting that I could play like this because, I was injured. My foot was very hurt, so I didn’t train three days,” revealed Mintah, who was named Man of the Match. The goal was his 17th of the season, and his fifth consecutive game on the scoresheet.
“I want to thank my teammates for their support and for fighting for this win. I’m so happy. Everything happens with God’s reason, so I thank God for this win.”
Cebu eventually settled into the game as the half wore on, mustering their first effort midway through the opening period with a long range effort from Paolo Salenga that stung the palms of Ref Cuaresma. The home side responded with Mintah and Lopez Mendy going close.
After the break, Kaya continued to dictate the match. Jovin Bedic found himself one-on-one against Patrick Deyto, but could only fire over the bar. Cebu’s Yu Hoshide then got an attempt on goal, but once again, Cuaresma held firm. 15 minutes from time, Eric Giganto, just moments after coming on, sealed the win for Makati.
On the counter attack, Marwin Angeles poked the ball to Miguel Tanton, who immediately fed the racing substitute. With only the keeper to beat, Giganto dribbled past Deyto and slotted the ball into the empty net. The super sub struck again, moving his total to five goals in the PFL season, three of which having come in his last four games.
“We wanted to change the intensity of the game, that’s why we put Eric in,” explained Marcaida. “It really paid off. Eric is such a quality player. He’s a very influential sub. Every time he comes in, he really makes sure to do something for the team.”
Meanwhile, Cebu’s head coach rued the difficulty of playing on the University of Makati surface.
“I think if we put away the chances that we had in the first and second half it would’ve been a different game. But anyway, it’s as good as it gets on this kind of pitch. The pitch was difficult to play on,” said Global head coach Akbar Nawas. “With a better pitch, you never know what kind of result we could’ve put up.”
The result reestablished Kaya Makati’s seven point advantage over Global Cebu, who have played two games less. Kaya will now embark on a busy week of PFL matches, with a game against Davao Aguilas on Wednesday, at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex, before facing Meralco Manila a few days later