Kaya-Iloilo stuns Shanghai

June 24, 2021 Theodore P. Jurado 266 views

THE Philippines will now have two clubs competing in the AFC Champions League.

Kaya FC-Iloilo joined United City FC in the continent’s biggest club football competition following a a memorable 1-0 win over Shanghai Port of China Wednesday night at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok.

Audie Menzi’s 16th minute header lifted Kaya to Group F of the competition where it will meet defending champion Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea, BG Pathum United of Thailand and Viettel FC of Vietnam.

The victory was Kaya’s biggest in 25-year old club history.

“To be able to last 90 minutes, everybody worked hard for their effort,” said Kaya’s new head coach Graham Harvey. “It was an amazing achievement for everyone in the club.”

Shanghai Port almost forced a deadlock in the latter stages of the match, but goalkeeper Louie Casas by producing several key saves to preserve Kaya’s lead.

With a group stage slot secured, Harvey looks forward to battling the continent’s best teams.

“We are now on the biggest stage in Asia, when we play some of the biggest clubs,” said Harvey.

“The boys have already begun to focus on the next six games. We will celebrate and enjoy this win but we’ll make sure to be focused for the next matches,” he added.

Kaya will open its Group F campaign against Thai League 1 champions BG Pathum United on Saturday.

On the same day, UCFC will open its Group I assignments against Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent.

The reigning Philippines Football League title-holders will also take on Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale and South Korea’s Daegu FC in their bracket.

Matches Saturday:

(Pathum Thani Stadium, Bangkok)
6 p.m. (Manila time) – BG Pathum United vs Kaya-Iloilo

(Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent)
10 p.m. (Manila time) – UCFC vs Beijing Guoan