Title favorite Kaya FC absorbed a painful 0-0 draw to Mendiola FC in the 2020 Philippines Football League (PFL) on Friday, November 6, at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
With Kaya’s draw, undefeated United City FC now has the chance to take home its first PFL title under the new name as the Iloilo-based squad only tallied 8 points and a +2 goal difference.
United City FC’s will face established squad Stallion Laguna for the title match later Friday, at 8 pm.
Mendiola, though, got its first point of in the tournament following back-to-back losses.
“I’m very thankful that the boys performed well today. The last minute for a counterattack. We give all the credit to the Mendiola players that they gave their best with all their heart,” said Mendiola head coach Dan Padernal.
Mendiola keeper Kenry Balobo emerged as the man of the match for his performance in keeping a pristine scoreline against the powerhouse squad that was aiming to bounce back from a draw.
Balobo kept his composure throughout the tournament as he made back-to-back saves against Kaya’s frontline.
In the 90th minute, Eric Giganto fired an out-of-the-box shot straight into the center but the San Beda standout came out with a deflection.
Four minutes later, Kaya FC striker Joven Bedic was on the breakaway and went one-on-one with Balobo, but the 22-year-old stopped the shot.
“They were more hungry, but we needed to step up,” said Balobo after the match. “We were lucky to get a one point, but we have to focus on the next game.”
Kaya FC controlled the first half with 75% of the possession but was marred with 4 offside calls and even an early disallowed goal in the 12th minute.
Even with the entry of Dylan de Bruycker and Arnel Amita to shake up the midfield, the 2020 AFC Cup qualifier failed to find the final touch on the chances it created.
Kaya FC, though, was met with a surprise from Mendiola who gained momentum even on the attack in the 2nd half.
The first clear-cut chance of the game came in the 48th minute where Ashley Flores crossed it to Aaron Altiche for the header, but it sailed just wide.
San Beda’s alumni team was on the brink of opening the scoreline late in the 87th minute as Flores tried to create his own chance, but his shot hit the side netting due to a tight angle. – Rappler.com