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Kaya makes another go at breakthrough 2021 ACL win

FOLLOWING two tough losses to open its 2021 (Asian Football Confederation) AFC Champions League (ACL) campaign, Kaya FC-Iloilo makes another go at a win when it returns to action on Friday.

Kaya takes on defending ACL champion Ulsan Hyundai FC of Korea in its third match in Group F in the prestigious continental tournament. The match is set for 6 p.m. (Manila time) at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Philippines Football League club is currently at the bottom of the grouping after losing to home team BG Pathum United, 4-1, and Vietnam’s Viettel FC, 5-0, in that order, in its first two matches.

Against Viettel on June 29, Kaya found the going tough at the onset.

It did not take long for the Vietnam side to go on top, scoring twice inside the first seven minutes of the contest.

Nguyen Hoang Duc scored in the second minute before Caique followed suit five minutes later to make it a 2-0 game for their team. It was a lead they would take all the way to the halfway point of the match.

Viettel added to the woes of Kaya immediately at the start of the second half, with Bui Tien Dung I at the scoring end in the 49th minute.

It completed its rout with a second goal from Caique in the 61st minute and Vu Minh Tuan in the 65th minute mark.

Kaya coach Graham Harvey did not hide his disappointment over their performance after the game, saying, “It was not what we were looking for, we’re pretty disappointed with the start of both halves.”

He, however, said as newbies in the competition, their team is still trying to adapt and learn.

“We’re up against Asia’s top clubs, so we have to be respectful and understand what they can do to counter us and try and stop them. We have to make sure we go back and reflect on what we’ve done, and try to make sure that we learn and improve on them,” Mr. Harvey said.

Ulsan Hyundai, for its part, has been true to form, undefeated in its first two matches and leads Group F with six points.

Meanwhile, the other Philippine club football representative, United City FC, also looks to barge into the win column after being held to a 1-1 draw by China’s Beijing FC in its opener and dominated by Korea’s Daegu FC, 7-0, in its second game.

United City, the reigning PFL champion, will take on Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale on Friday at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in a match set for 10 p.m. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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