On the back of an extremely strong start at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Meralco Manila walked away 3-1 winners over Kaya Makati in the Philippines Football League Third Place Playoff. Joaco Cañas and Curt Dizon scored the goals for Meralco, while Jovin Bedic managed a consolation for Kaya.
“We conceded three goals in 25 minutes. It’s really tough to bounce back from that,” said Makati head coach Noel Marcaida after the match.
Kaya Makati actually started the match brightly, with Robert Lopez Mendy firing a long range effort narrowly wide. But almost immediately after, the opener arrived for Manila. From a short corner, Meralco crossed to the back post, where the ball was cushioned to the middle for Cañas to nod in.
12 minutes later, Curt Dizon took advantage of a defensive lapse and broke free from Makati’s backline. With the only the keeper to beat the speedy attacker buried his chance with ease.
Halfway through the period, things turned from bad to worse for Kaya. From a central free kick a few meters outside their box, Dizon curled in a beauty to extend the lead to three.
Makati emerged from the break with three changes. Antonio Ugarte and Jovin Bedic replaced Aly Borromeo and Marvin Angeles. The team also returned to a 4-3-3 formation, shelving the 3-5-2 experiment in the first half. The switch yielded a goal 13 minutes after the restart, with the substitutes connecting from a free kick. Ugarte curled in the delivery from a wide position, and Bedic headed in to the cut into Meralco’s lead.
The game’s tempo quickened after that, with Kaya looking to take advantage of the momentum. 13 minutes later, Lopez Mendy looked to have scored Makati’s second. After beating his marker, Robert lifted the ball past the onrushing keeper. His effort hit the inside of the post and looked destined to be a goal, but somehow, the ball stayed out. Lopez Mendy narrowly cleared the crossbar from a free kick after that, in what turned out to be the final clear chance of the match.
“Going into the second half my players really responded well. I think if that chance from Mendy that hit the post went in, it could’ve been a different story. We could’ve had a grandstand finish,” said Marcaida. “But at the end of the day, we have to accept defeat. We’ll make the most of our three week break and get back onto the pitch and get ready for next season.”