By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

KAYA FC-Iloilo stayed undefeated and at the top half of Group H in the 2020 AFC Cup group play after a 1-1 draw with PSM Makassar in an away match in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday. But the Philippine club admitted that it would have been far better if it came out with a victory.

That being said, Kaya is seeking to notch a more favorable result when it reengages PSM here at home in a month’s time.

“We’re disappointed we couldn’t get the win, but it’s still a draw away from home. We’re still undefeated, and we will look to win our match against them at home,” said Kaya head coach Oliver Colina as he shared his reflection on their performance in the post-match press conference.

“We played a good game, but of course we didn’t beat them at their home. We need to go back, fix everything and try to beat them at our home,” Jovin Bedic, Kaya captain, for his part, said.

Kaya played PSM at the Gelora Bung Karno Madya Stadium in Jakarta behind closed doors over concerns on the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has now reached more than a hundred countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines.

Things got off to an ideal start for Kaya as PSM’s Dedy Gusmawan was sent off just 11 minutes into the contest for two quick-fire yellow cards.

But despite being a man down, the home side was the one to open the scoring.

Yakob Sayuri picked out Osas Saha with a precise through ball, which the front man took in stride and slotted past Mike Casas. The goal was the first conceded by Kaya in 2020.

Kaya took control of possession for the remainder of the opening period, but struggled to carve out openings.

That changed after the break.

Arnel Amita came on for Marwin Angeles, and Jayson Panhay came on for the injured Shirmar Felongco.

Coach Yu Hoshide also tweaked the formation to play three at the back, pushing Eric Giganto into a forward role.

The move paid off as minutes after the restart, Mr. Amita curled in a cross which Mr. Giganto headed over the keeper and into the net at the 50th minute.

In the 60th minute the Compostela Valley duo almost combined for the go ahead but Mr. Giganto couldn’t keep his shot down.

Kaya continued with its attack thereafter and nearly got a potential marginal goal with 10 minutes remaining but Mr. Bedic’s close-range header deflected wide.

PSM had one final say in regulation but Osas fired narrowly wide from just outside the six-yard box, ensuring that the match finished knotted at 1-1.

Following the draw, Kaya slid to second place in Group H with five points on a 1-2-0 record.

Tampines Rovers FC (2-1-0) of Singapore moved to the top spot with seven points, boosted by its 2-1 win over Shan United FC of Myanmar also Tuesday.

PSM (1-1-1) is third with four points while winless Shan United is in last place.

Leader on the board after group play in the AFC Cup books a spot in the zonal semifinals.