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Kaya-Iloilo absorbs heartbreaking draw in AFC Cup 2019 opener

MANILA, Philippines – Kaya FC opened its 2019 AFC Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw with Lao Toyota FC on Wednesday, February 27 at the Laos National Stadium in Vientiane, Laos. 

Jovin Bedic wound up as Kaya’s lone goalscorer as he strolled into the box unmarked before meeting Yannick Tuason’s cross to fire home a volley past a flat-footed Outthilath Nammakhoth in the 18th minute of action.

However, Safya Aphideth met Kazuo Homma’s cross for a header in the 87th minute that equalized the score.

Kaya and Lao Toyota take home one point each, which ties everyone up in the standings as fellow Group H members Home United and PSM Makassar also drew 1-1 on Wednesday.

Lao Toyota gave Kaya an early scare in the first half as captain Kazuo Homma fired a shot into the left post at the 6 minute mark. 

The Lao Premier League champions then continued on with their aggressive play as Kaya FC right back Tyler Matas was booked for an aggressive shirt-tug on Lao’s Brazilian midfielder, Rafael.

Following Bedic’s goal, Lao Toyota looked to switch it up tactically, as defender Bounphitak Chanthalangsy came on for midfielder Konekham Inthammavong in the 34th minute of action. 

To close out the half, Kazuo Homma gave Kaya another huge scare as he found space behind the Kaya backline, before attempting to beat goalkeeper Louie Casas at his near post to no success. 

Exiting halftime, Lao defender Saison Khounsamnan and Kaya midfielder Arnie Pasinabo were booked with yellow cards at the 54th and 57th marks, respectively, as the match intensified. 

Kaya FC missed a huge chance to go 2-0 up at the 75th minute mark, as Darryl Roberts met Marwin Angeles’ free kick before heading the ball at goal into Lao goalkeeper Outthilath Nammakhoth’s grasp. 

Finding difficulty in attacking Kaya’s compact 4-4-2 formation, Lao largely resulted to attacking the flanks in the 80th minute before eventually striking gold with Safya’s 87th minute header.

Kaya FC will take on Singapore’s Home United for its second match of the tournament on Wednesday, March 13, at 3 pm at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. –  Jason Santos/Rappler.com