MANILA, Philippines – Kaya FC emerged as the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara champion over Davao Aguilas FC, 1-0 (AET), on Saturday, October 27 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium for a sure spot in the 2019 AFC Cup.
Jovin Bedic ended the sloppy game at the last minute of extra time (119') after firing the cross of Robert Mendy into the back of the net.
“What a final,” exclaimed Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.
“What makes it special for this [final] – aside from we wanted to go to back AFC – is we were able to give honor to the legendary Paulino Alcantara [who] is from Concepcion, Iloilo and as [the] representative of Iloilo, this Cup really matters for us.”
Davao Aguilas FC will only advance to the regional cup tournament if Ceres-Negros FC qualifies for the 2019 AFC Champions League.
Kaya dominated the first half as Miguel Tanton took a free kick in the 32nd minute, only to have Patrick Deyto punch it out for the save. Five minutes later, the Kaya lifer paved the way for Marvin Angeles' free kick to reach Mendy for the header but it was caught offside.
Davao Aguilas had an aggressive start to the second half as Kim Sungmin had two consecutive chances in the 49th minute. His first header went straight into Kaya keeper Ace Villaneuva's hands while he missed Matthew Hartmann's cross in the second sequence.
In the 53rd minute, Kim opened up James Younghusband at the near post, but the midfielder made contact with the ball at an awkward position that wasted the fine opportunity.
The Iloilo-based squad finally got its first chance in the second half when Connor Tacagni took a shot at an open goal but it sailed just wide (60').
In the 79th minute, Jalsor Soriano almost opened the floodgates after taking a long shot that hit the crossbar. Four minutes later, Mendy created a great chance for himself after dribbling past two defenders but succumbed to the pressure with a wide shot.
During added time, Davao looked to end the drought once and for all by opening up Daniel Gadia in the box but his shot sailed over the bar.
In the 98th minute, Davao's Wesley Dos Santos picked up his second yellow after a challenge on Tacagni and was sent off the pitch.
Davao Aguilas committed another blunder a minute later that conceded a free kick, but Tanton's shot hit the woodwork in his attempt to target the top corner. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.