It was an intense battle between two powerhouse teams but Kaya Futbol Club-Iloilo survived Stallion-Laguna Football Club, 2-1 to reach the 2023 Copa Paulino Alcantara finals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Fueled with a never-say-die spirit, the Ilonggos dominated the semifinals series with an aggregate score of 4-2 after scoring a 2-1 victory over Stallion-Laguna in the first leg over a week ago.
Playing like well-oiled machines, Kaya-Iloilo quickly gained a 1-0 advantage in the 18th minute as Ricardo Sendra connected on a strike which crossed the goal line before the defense cleared it.
Making a retaliation, Stallion-Laguna managed to tie the score 10 minutes later as Zachary Ford quickly made his presence felt off the bench with a close range connection past the defense of Kaya-Iloilo.
Kaya-Iloilo regained the advantage in the 48th minute as Daizo Horikoshi had his cross redirected into the back of the net, and since then, they held on to the defense the rest of the way.
According to Kaya-Iloilo head coach Colum Curtis, he hopes the adjustments shown by his players will be continued in the finals against Davao Aguilas Football Club.
“The first day of the semifinals, I was not very happy. Our first half performance that time was very, very poor. But, in the second half, we stuck to the game plan and were able to win it,” Curtis said.
“We made some adjustments (in the second leg) and the boys carried those adjustments really, really well,” he added. “There’s no point in going to the finals if we don’t win the trophy, so we will do everything to bring home the trophy.”
Hailed as Man of the Match, Audie Menzi said their leg two adjustments played a key role in their victory, but he admitted that they failed to capitalize on some of their goal chances.IMT Sports