December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Meralco keeps PFL clean slate intact with win over Kaya

FC MERALCO MANILA continued to show fine form in the Philippines Football League (PFL) as it raced to its fifth win in as many games by beating Kaya FC-Makati, 2-0, in the battle of league-leaders at the University of Makati last Saturday.

Marking the return of the PFL after a two-week international break, Meralco showed no let-up to its steady play en route to an improved 5-0-0 record and 15 points, five clear of its conquered, Kaya (3-1-2), which dropped to third with 10 points from six matches.

Goals from Joaco Canas (43’) and Phil Younghusband (66’) were the difference for the visiting Meralco side in its victory over rival Kaya.

The two teams engaged in a spirited battle early in the opening period before Mr. Canas broke the stalemate with a nifty goal off the corner to help his team to a 1-0 lead right before the break.

Kaya tried to make up for the goal it allowed in the opening minutes of the second half but Meralco’s defense proved itself up to the challenge.

Mr. Younghusband added cushion to Meralco’s lead by draining a penalty kick stemming from a red card given to Kaya forward Jordan Mintah in the preceding play for what was ruled a hit on the head of Meralco center back Milan Nikolic.

Reduced to 10 men, Kaya scrambled to claw its way back but it got little headway with Meralco holding its ground as it steered clear to the dock for the win.

“It was a total team effort,” said Meralco coach Aris Caslib of their performance against Kaya, a sentiment shared by man of the match Younghusband.

“In our system if you have one player who loses concentration, a team like Kaya can capitalize on it. But we didn’t. Every single player worked their socks off and gave everything,” said the national team skipper.

For Kaya, while it rues the loss on its home turf, it is looking at it as further motivation to fine-tune its game for the still long grind ahead in the first season of the PFL.

“Meralco’s defensive line of five was very solid. We were having a hard time breaking that line. That’s the concern, and we will have to address that in our next match against them. They took one game out of four meetings, now we still have three chances against them. We have to think positive,” said Kaya coach Noel Marcaida after the match.

In the other Saturday fixture in the PFL, JPV Marikina FC climbed to solo second with an upset of Ceres Negros FC, 2-1.

Takumi Uesato and J Baguioro provided the goals for the victors, who are now with 12 points on a 4-0-2 record.

Ceres, with the loss, dropped to 1-1-1 with four points and currently good for fifth place. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo