MANILA, Philippines -- OJ Porteria scored the football equivalent of a buzzer-beater to lift Kaya FC past visiting New Radiant SC of Maldives, 1-0, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Tuesday evening for their first 2016 AFC Cup win.
The scoreless first half saw Kaya and New Radiant tussle for possession, but it was the Pinoy side that had more attempts, but had a hard time finding the finish.
The second half saw the visitors get some really close chances at a goal, but just couldn’t get them to drop as well.
With around ten minutes remaining and the chance at an all-important three points slipping, the home club turned the pressure up, with close attempt after close attempt coming courtesy of Antonio Ugarte and Dominic Del Rosario.
With four minutes added to injury time, Kaya FC’s aggressiveness paid off , as Junior Munoz found a cutting Porteria, who blasted it past New Radiant keeper Sulemana Abu and straight into the back of the net, much to the delight of the pro-Pinoy crowd in attendance.
Just as the reigning UFL Cup champions were done celebrating the amazing last-second conversion, the referee blew the final whistle to signal the end of the match and finalize the Kaya victory, their first ever in the AFC Cup.
Suleman, who had held his own on defense for New Radiant prior to the game-clinching goal, was in tears as his teammates came over to try and console him.
“I took the chance, and thank God it went in.” Porteria said in the post-match interview.
Kaya coach Joe Villarino also said in the post-game presser that their big win proved that they were one of the best teams in the AFC Cup.
While this win is certainly one to celebrate, the Makati-based club won’t have too much time to do so, as they get ready to head into battle again in just a week’s time when they host Group F leaders Balestier Khalsa from Singapore.
“It’s gonna be very difficult, and we’re gonna have to be better than we were tonight,” Portieria said of their upcoming matchup against the former Singapore Cup champions.
Balestier Khalsa battled New Radiant to a draw in their first outing, and then handed Kitchee SC their first loss of the tournament.
After Tuesday’s matches, Balestier Khalsa leads Group F with one win, one draw and four points after two games, while Kitchee and Kaya are knotted at one win and one loss for three points each. New Radiant drops to the bottom of the group with one draw and one loss for one point.
This article originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.