MANILA, Philippines - Kaya FC overcame a flat, faulty start with a strong, spectacular finish as it downed a feisty Army-General Trias International, 5-1, to get itself into what is turning out to be a three-team title race in the First Division of the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium Tuesday night.
The LBC-bankrolled Kaya side needed a tongue-lashing from coach David Perkovic at halftime to come alive in the second half where they unloaded a four-goal barrage to turn a 1-1 deadlock to an emphatic victory.
With the game knotted at one rocket apiece, Kaya went on a hitting parade with OJ Porteria, Christian Ayew and substitutes Thomas Taylor and Emmanuel Mbata delivering the decisive goals that handed the Kaya booters the full three points to improve to 36 points, enough to join Loyola Meralco Sparks at No. 2 with 17 matches each. Kaya though gets the No. 2 spot with better goal differential of 37 against Loyola’s 30,
Global FC continues to lead the way with 38 points in only 16 matches.
Porteria sparked the second half spree when he connected on the bottom corner before Ayew followed it up with a rocket off a nifty cross from Chris Greatwich.
And then Taylor scored from outside the box and into the left corner and Mbata, back from injury, unleashed a powerful header into the almost exact same spot.
Without a game in three weeks after loaning some of its players to the Philippine Azkals team, Kaya didn’t show the usual rust as Pablo Rodriguez headed home the match’s first goal off a clever cross from Anton del Rosario just two minutes into the match.
The Armymen, however, levelled the score 16 minutes later after Nestorio Margarse Jr. fired a goal on perfect set up by John Cain, unnerving Kaya for the rest of the first half.
And then Perkovic had an outburts at the break.
“Maybe a blasting at half-time from me was the key,” said Perkovic. “I wasn’t happy at all with our first half performance. The players knew about it and they responded in the second half.”
Perkovic said the long rest benefited them more than it slowed his side.
“The long layoff wasn’t difficult. It was actually quite good for us in that we had a few niggling injuries and we had a chance to get over most of them,” said Perkovic. “The difficult part was the late change of schedule. I’m a perfectionist, I plan a lot.
“When things change three days before a game, it’s unprofessional, it makes my job very difficult,” he added.
In the only other match of the day, defending champion Stallion Giligan’s couldn’t extract the full three points as it was held to a scoreless draw by a stubborn Pasargad.