MANILA, Philippines – The Davao Aguilas and Kaya Iloilo shared the spoils in a thrilling opening encounter in the 2018 Philippines Football League as the two teams settled for a 2-2 draw on Sunday, March 4, at the Davao del Norte Sports Complex in Tagum City.
James Younghusband notched a brace in the second half to salvage a point for the new-look hosts following a frustrating start, with the visiting squad dictating the tempo in the first 50 minutes.
"We're disappointed we didn't get 3 points but fair play to Kaya, they're always a tough battle and competitive," said Younghusband.
"They're a really good club. First game of the season, always gonna be a bit shaky start, first half maybe we struggled a bit, in the second half, we calmed down," he added.
Kaya had a solid start to the match, winning the aerial battles and controlling the midfield. They were rewarded in the 18th minute as the returning Alfred Osei opened the scoring off a scramble inside the box.
The visiting side from Iloilo continued to put pressure on Davao as they got their second goal in the 49th minute when Robert Lopez Mendy linked up with newcomer Connor Tacagni who headed in the second goal for Kaya.
That's when Davao finally pushed back with Younghusband scoring two minutes later off a tap-in, pumping in the much-needed boost for Davao and flipping a switch of sorts for his squad.
Younghusband got his brace in the 58th minute, heading in the ball from his brother Phil to finally equalize after what looked like a horror start for the club.
James almost completed a hat-trick but his attempt from inside the box just went a tad wide. The Aguilas had plenty of opportunity to go ahead but the Kaya defense just had enough to hold them off and take a point in the fixture.
"Exciting game. I think it was a good result, a good start, not only for Davao but for both teams. Unfortunately in the second half I think we deserved a 3rd goal but Kaya was able to defend on that when we do our substitution to adjust the games. In the end I think, good start for us," said Davao head coach Marlon Maro.
"The team has the talent. One important thing is I see the true character for my players. From 0-2 we were able to equalize in the second half. It's a good sign to progress in our next matches," he added. – Rappler.com