Hosts Kaya FC-Iloilo and Tampines Rovers failed to find the back of the net as both squads ended their clash goalless last February 26 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Filipino side started much better with some half-chances early on while Tampines Rovers were still adjusting to the ebb and flow of the game.
As the clock approached the tenth minute, the Stags were able to assert themselves more as they started to conjure some attacking plays.
A minute before the first quarter of an hour, left midfielder Jordan Webb was able to break free of his marker but his attempt while at speed, at a tight angle can only fly over the bar.
Immediately the next minute, Kaya mounted a momentary siege of Tampines’ box but opportunities fleetingly came and went without getting the breakthrough.
In the 22nd minute a golden opportunity came for the Stags as the ball fell kindly on the path of Irwan Shah Arismail’s foot to unleash from close range but Kaya keeper Mike Casas was equal to it with a reflex save.
A few nervous moments arrived against Kaya FC as the Singaporeans peppered the hosts with some promising plays but the Filipino side were able to hold their fort and keep the stalemate.
In the 28th minute Jayson Panhay could have scored the opening goal for Kaya from a direct freekick but his well-curled effort flew agonizingly wide of the near post.
The game then proceeded with both teams trading possessions but neither was able to get a good look to score the icebreaker.
At the 42nd minute, Tampines had another half-decent chance with forward Boris Kopitovic unleashing a pile-driver in stride and at an angle, but his effort fizzed just over the bar.
Kopitovic’s attempt would be the last decent effort at goal as halftime arrived with the match goalless and finely in the balance.
Early in the second half, Tampines Rovers almost got ahead with Madhu Mohana’s strike inside the box deflected by a Kaya defender but Casas, once again, came up with a reflex save to deny the chance and maintain parity.
In the subsequent minutes after the hour mark, Kaya were able to control the match for the most part as they controlled the possession, but were not able to convert.
A late golden chance came for the Singaporean visitors with Webb releasing Kopitovic who duly produced a goal-bound effort but once again, Casas was the savior who kept the parity.
Tampines Rovers suddenly came alive in the final minutes as they knocked on Kaya’s door on several occasions. Meanwhile, Kaya had their few moments in injury time, but it wasn’t meant to be as the tie ended in a goalless draw.
Kaya FC-Iloilo will next visit Indonesian side PSM Makassar on March 10.
Photo credit: Kaya FC-Iloilo