By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Reporter

Omura lifts Kaya FC to UFL Cup semifinals

Posted on April 04, 2016

DEFENDING CHAMPION Kaya FC kept its title retention hopes alive after coming from behind to beat rival Loyola Meralco Sparks FC, 2-1, in their United Football League (UFL) Cup knockout quarterfinal encounter on Saturday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Miguel Tanton and Kaya FC advanced to the UFL Cup semifinals after beating Loyola Meralco Sparks FC, 2-1, on Saturday. -- KC Cruz/UFL Facebook account
Towed by goals from Masanari Omura (74’) and Robert Lopez Mendy (90’), Kaya successfully clawed its way back out from an early hole it was in.

Also victorious and advancing was the still-undefeated Stallion FC, who beat the resilient Green Archers United (GAU) FC, 3-2, in their own quarterfinal duel earlier in the day.

Kaya and Loyola got the action going right from the starting gates as both teams thrust themselves in early scoring positions.

They went back and forth as the opening half progressed until Loyola veteran James Younghusband broke the stalemate at the 38th minute with a header off a free kick.

The header sent the orange and white team to a celebration as they took a 1-0 edge heading into the halftime break.

Trailing, Kaya started the second half aggressively, testing Loyola’s defense which proved to be up to it.

Kaya’s grit and determination were eventually rewarded at the 74th minute with Japanese Omura broke through for a header off a free kick to level things for his team.

Both Kaya and Loyola pressed on to get the go-ahead goal thereafter. Unlike in the first half, however, Kaya beat its opponent to the punch with Mr. Lopez Mendy on the firing end at the 90th minute.

Five minutes were added but they proved not enough for Loyola to salvage things.

Mr. Lopez Mendy was later named man of the match.

Meanwhile in the first game, Stallion kept its unblemished record intact in the ongoing UFL Cup with a balanced attack that kept Chieffy Caligdong and the rest of the Green Archers United at bay.

Simone Rota opened the scoring for the Stallions at the 20th from outside the box which Ruben Doctora and Fitch Arboleda complemented with goals of their own at the 56th and 88th minute, respectively, to help their team to the victory.

Former Philippine national men’s football team captain Caligdong tried to carry his team with a brace (48’, 90’) but they were not enough as GAU slumped to elimination.

Kaya and Stallion now await the winners of the other quarterfinal bracket, to be played later yesterday, whom they will meet in the semifinals this week.

Incidentally, the league announced that the finals of the UFL Cup has been moved to April 16 from April 9 to “accommodate UFL clubs in their Asian Football Confederation Cup preparations.”

Kaya and Ceres-La Salle FC are the clubs in the thick of AFC Cup competition. They play next on April 12.