Kaya FC, Tampines Rovers settle score in a goalless draw

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

KayaFC-v-ShanUtd-AFCCup2020

Kaya FC opens AFC Cup 2020 campaign with massive, hard-fought win

Kaya FC-Iloilo opened their AFC Cup 2020 campaign with an all-important 2-0 win against Burmese champions Shan United FC in an away fixture held at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar last February 12.

Three minutes after kick-off, Kaya were presented with a chance, but team captain Jovin Bedic and Takumi Uesato were not able to capitalize on the opportunity.

In the fifth minute, Kaya goalkeeper Louie Casas went on the receiving end of a high boot from a Shan united forward, but only foul was called. Two minutes later, a set-piece, delivered by Jason Panhay, connected with Simone Rota, but the defender’s header just went narrowly wide of the far post.

For the most part of the early proceedings, Kaya’s men were able to show a bit more control of the match, while the hosts were more tentative with the possession afforded to them.

However, around 24 minutes into the match, Shan United started to come to life with some nifty plays. Two minutes later, Nanda Kyaw broke free beating the defense, but Mike Casas came up with a reflex save to deny the on-target attempt that may have been the breakthrough for the Burmese club.

In the 43rd minute, another instance raised the alarms against Kaya FC with Shan United producing another fine through ball pass, but defender Shirmar Felongco was able to to come up with a timely tackle to snuff out what could be a golden opportunity for the hosts.

Right before halftime, Kaya should have been up by a goal as a late freekick has been awarded, but what could have been a well-executed delivery from Panhay into the box found Rota who headed well, only to see the ball zip narrowly out of the near post as time expired with both teams goalless into the break.

Around five minutes after the restart, Shan United, showing a brighter start between the two sides, almost saw themselves with the lead but midfielder Yakubu Abubakar’s attempt after breaking free from Simone Rota’s defense was denied by the near post.

Minutes passed by with the match very much in the balance, as both squads saw some half-chances and opportunities, but were not able to notch the icebreaker.

In the 73rd minute a golden opportunity came in favor of the visitors when substitute substitute Arnel Amita was fouled inside Shan United’s box. Captain Jovin Bedic stepped up to take the ensuing spot kick who made no mistake to put his side in front in the next minute.

Immediately, Shan United poured their efforts chasing for an equalizer, but the Filipino side was able to weather the storm after a few nervous moments.

But five minutes before the 90th minute mark, Kaya FC suddenly provided what could have been the clincher as perennial super-sub Eric Giganto produced an unstoppable pile-driver off a feed from Arnel Amita to put the visitors two-goals up.

In the 90th minute, Louie Casas made a timely save to deny substitute Hein Phyo Win with what could have been a consolation goal for Shan United, as the match expired with Kaya FC Iloilo achieving a clean sheet to add to their two-goal haul to open their AFC Cup 2020 campaign with a massive away win in what seems to be a very tough group.

Kaya FC-Iloilo will next play in the AFC Cup as host to Singaporean side Tampines Rovers on February 26, 2020 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Photo credit: AFC

PFL sees century of goals breached as leadership for ‘top hitman’ takes shape

Ruthless and lopsided victories by Ceres Negros and Green Archers United this past weekend have racked up the total number goals scored in the Philippines Football League 2019 to 110 breaching the century-mark as we revisit who, at the moment, are the top scorers in the league.

With three matches completed recently, Ceres Negros scored a dozen of unanswered goals to beat hapless Air Force accompanied by a tightly contested 1-0 win by Kaya against Stallion in a simultaneous fixture that transpired last Saturday, July 13. The two matches were then followed by a 9-0 dismantling of Global FC by in-form Green Archers United the following day, Sunday.

The massive 22-goal haul produced during the course of the weekend has put the current PFL season’s goals tally to well beyond the 100-mark as we look at who are the league leaders when it comes to shaking the back of the net for their respective clubs. Of course, we will also tackle the top performing brands of boots so as to see if there are any surprise names that put their name on the Philippine pro-football map.

PFL TOP SCORERS

Tied at 5th Place: 3 Goals

  • Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC Iloilo)
  • Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna)
  • Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna)
  • Chima Uzoka (Stallion Laguna)
  • Jimuel Ariola (Green Archers Utd)
L-R: Arboleda, Bedic, Alquiros, Uzoka, Ariola

Tied at 4th Place: 4 Goals

  • Curt Dizon (Ceres Negros)
  • Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)
  • Stephan Schröck (Ceres Negros)
L-R: Dizon, Schröck, Marvin Angeles

Tied at 3rd Place: 5 Goals

  • Mike Ott (Ceres Negros)
  • John Celiz (Green Archers United)
L-R: Mike Ott, John Celiz

2nd Place: 9 Goals

  • Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Marañon sits undisputed on the driver’s seat

On top of the standings is none other than Bienvenido Marañon.

Ceres-Negros’ lethal striker has already beaten the opposing defences 16 times making him the only one to get to double digits when it comes to scoring goals at this moment in the on-going season.

His telepathic understanding with talismanic midfielder Stephan Schröck where the Filipino international has been the provider for the Spaniard has been the biggest key producing seven of those goals from that tandem alone.

With the PFL 2019 still far from over, it can be expected that at this form, Marañon could score much more and may be well on his way to top the charts at the campaign’s conclusion.

TOP PERFORMING BOOTS

A total of seven football shoe brands have found the back of the net in the ongoing PFL 2019 season. Before we look into the top 3 most lethal footwear in the league here are the ones that made the list:

  • New Balance (1 goal)
  • Kipsta/Decathlon (1 goal) -> a welcome surprise!
  • Puma (2 goals)
  • Mizuno (4 goals)

TOP 2: ADIDAS Football

With 18 players who scored in the PFL wearing the three stripes on their feet, a total of 35 goals are attributed to the German brand with Jordan Mintah being at the forefront.

TOP 1: NIKE Football

Seemingly a favorite of most attacking players in the PFL with Ceres Negros midfield maestro Stephan Schröck as one of its leading disciples, 25 individuals found the back of the net while equipped with the swoosh brand for a whopping 59 goals all in all.

BIGGEST WINNER

Wait, where’s TOP 3?

Well, it’s been saved for last since the brand can be considered the biggest climber with respect to its relative profile compared to the other global brands and it’s none other than CONCAVE which has Bienvenido Marañon to thank for.

Ceres’ most lethal striker, despite being signed under the Australian brand, began the domestic campaign wearing a different pair of boots opting to limit the use of his Concave Halo’s for the AFC Cup campaign where the Spaniard turned out to be one of the best goalscorers.

Bienvenido Marañon and his Concave shoes

However, once The Busmen’s continental front has come to an end at the ASEAN Zone semifinals, Marañon began to wear Concaves in the PFL where he racked up eight goals in his Halo’s in just four matches to magically push the brand to third spot in the standings!

Now, the question is, with Marañon rocking a pair which does not have mainstream footprint in the Philippines (Concave Asia is based in Indonesia as per its Instagram account), can this influence the striker for a future move to a different country where the brand has a much more visible presence in the near future?

For now, it’s just purely speculation.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

pfl2019-totw3

PFL Team of the Week 3

In a matchweek that has seen fixtures laid out for quite a stretch, here is the third edition of 5th Minute of Added Time’s eleven standout players that make up the Team of the Week (TOTW) list.

MATCH RESULTS

June 15: Stallion 6-1 Mendiola; Kaya 1-0 Global
June 19: Global 3-1 Air Force, Mendiola 3-6 Kaya, Green Archers 0-0 Stallion
June 22: Global v Mendiola (abandoned)
June 23: Air Force 0-3 Green Archers

Formation: 3-5-2

Goalkeeper: Henri Bandeken Fong (Green Archers United)

The Cameroonian shot-stopper has been immense for Green Archers’ draw against Stallion Laguna last June 19 in a match that is considered as probably one of the toughest challenges they have in their campaign.

With several key saves, Green Archers were able to repel Stallion’s chances holding them scoreless as both teams shared the spoils in which the Archers would consider as a massive achievement, thanks to the efforts of their colossal sentinel that night.

Defender: Reynald Villareal (Stallion Laguna)

Stallion’s centerback has been a key figure in the club’s defense line during its two-game stretch for this edition of TOTW where both Mendiola and Green Archers were not able to find the back of the net.

Defender: Julian Clarino (Stallion Laguna)

The former UP Fighting Maroon has been a dependable force for the Binan-based club both in his defensive role and as a conduit in being one of the channels towards an offensive buildup from the left flank.

His efforts as one of the pieces in Stallion’s backline has been rewarded successfully helping the club get two clean sheets against Mendiola and, more importantly, against Green Archers United.

Defender: Reymart Cubon (Green Archers United)

Definitely not to be missed out as one of this week’s outstanding defenders, homegrown talent Reymart Cubon has been undeniably stellar at the back as Green Archers United amassed two clean-sheets against Stallion and Air Force to help propel the club to second place (as of this writing) in the league standings.

Midfielder/Winger: Fitch Arboleda (Stallion Laguna)

One of Stallion’s go to guy when it comes to the attack, Fitch Arboleda’s brace in a win against Mendiola FC and initiatives up front in a draw against Green Archers United cannot deny his quality for the Laguna-based outfit.

Midfielder: Eric Giganto (Kaya FC Iloilo)

A player who can deliver big time for the club when called upon, Eric Giganto showed once again why he is one of Kaya’s major threats this season with two stellar goals and an assist against Mendiola last June 19.

Now that is one heck of an all-around attacking effort.

Midfielder: Marvin Angeles (Green Archers United)

What can we say? Despite coming in as a substitute, Marvin Angeles showed his undeniable talent and quality when it mattered most by scoring two goals against Air Force.

His second one was a thing of beauty as he connected with Paolo Bugas’ delivery in spectacular fashion with an acrobatic volley as icing on the cake as Green Archers’ leaped their way to second place in the PFL standings.

Midfielder: Alfred Osei (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Whether being an enforcer or a scoring option, Alfred Osei, proves that he can operate as a box-to-box midfielder for Kaya FC.

His scoring capabilities has been witnessed once again as he registered his first goal for the domestic campaign against Global last June 15.

Midfielder: Paolo Bugas (Green Archers United)

Paolo Bugas is turning out to be one of the main midfield architects for his club this 2019 season with his creativity, vision and distribution.

His well-placed and well-weighted pass leading to Marvin Angeles’ highlight reel notched his second assist for the season.

Chima Uzoka (Stallion Laguna)

Chima Uzoka’s hat-trick against Mendiola has been a glimpse of what he can offer for the club.

And despite being held in a goalless draw against Green Archers in the following match, his previous exploits showed his potential for his new club.

Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)

With another hat-trick against Mendiola FC, Jordan Mintah puts his goals tally up to seven, propelling him to second place in the scorers table.

But what’s more important than being up there as one of the most potent strikers in the league is the fact that his efforts helped his club Kaya FC maintain its perfect start to the season and the early grip of the leadership in the race for the domestic league championship.

Photo credit: PFL

PFL: Kaya stays perfect, Global gets breakthrough, Archers and Stallion share spoils

The Philippines Football League concluded a busy Wednesday with Kaya FC Iloilo maintaining their perfect run to the season off a goal-fest and Global FC notching their first win of the campaign. Meanwhile Green Archers United held Stallion to a scoreless draw as both teams rounded up the matchday sharing the spoils.

Kaya FC show firepower over Mendiola in a nine-goal spectacle

The Iloilo representatives of the PFL proved once again that they are legitimate challengers for the throne this season after scoring six goals against Mendiola FC 1991’s three. Jordan Mintah scored a hat-trick while Eric Giganto got a brace with Shirmar Felongco also getting on the scoresheet with a first half conversion.

Despite finding the back of the net thrice with team captain Aaron Altiche, Ashley Flores and Alen Angeles scoring, Mendiola FC 1991 could only look into the positives on the match regarding their offense as the goals were not enough against the might of their opponents for the day.

Global FC fightback results to first win of the campaign

A spirited second half performance by Global FC over Air Force proved to be a much needed boost in the midst of their rebuild as they get their first three points of the season.

Late goals by Kennedy Uzoka, Marvin Bricenio and Matthew Custodio were enough to overturn an Alvin Obero own-goal in the first half.

Stallion held by Green Archers

In what was considered as the marquee matchup for the day, Green Archers United produced a monumental defensive effort, particularly from goalkeeper Henri Bandeken, as they were able to successfully hold their fort and repel the attacks of Stallion to a goalless draw, showing that they are the best performing debutants this early in the PFL season.

Stallion though might consider this result as a lost opportunity that could later haunt them in their aim to contend for an AFC tournament qualification with some squandered gilt-edged chances that could have killed the match in their favor.

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

Current top scoring boot brands in PFL 2019

A little over a month has passed since the third season of the Philippines Football League has commenced. With 43 goals scored in total, here are the top scoring football boots in the country’s top tier (as of June 17, 2019).

Puma, Kipsta: 1 goal each

Mendiola’s Franco Dela Torre scored a goal near the half-hour mark last June 2 against Green Archers United wearing a pair of Kipsta Agility’s.

Alvin Obero of Air Force etched his name in the goalscoring tally after converting against Mendiola near the hour mark last June 8 while armed with his Puma Future boots.

Mizuno: 3 goals

Green Archers United’s Val Jurao scored a brace last June 2 against Mendiola in Morelia Neos.

Meanwhile, defender Martin Steuble scored a spectacular 24th minute goal for Ceres-Negros during the club’s opener against Stallion while also wearing the Morelia Neos.

Adidas: 14 goals

Adidas came in second in the standings with 14 goals, led by Kaya FC Iloilo’s Jordan Mintah who was able to shake the back of the net four times making him the second highest scorer in the league at the moment with his Adidas Nemeziz Initiators.

Other goal-scorers for Adidas: Jayson Panhay (Kaya FC), Christian Zubiri (Green Archers), Mike Ott (Ceres-Negros), Jo Warren Bedia (Stallion), Nathan Alquiros (Stallion), James Kim (Green Archers), Papuh Corsame (Mendiola FC), Alfred Osei (Kaya FC)

Nike: 24 goals

Currently the choice of the league’s deadliest strikers and chance-takers, Nike boasts the most number of conversions with the ball crossing the line and into the back of the net a whopping 24 times.

Although leading by a very significant margin, Nike also has the distinction of scoring an own goal.

Topping the list of scorers at the moment while wearing Nike in the Philippines Football League is Ceres-Negros’ Bienvenido Marañon with a league-leading eight goals under his name, all while wearing Nike Tiempo 7 Stealth Ops.

Other goal-scorers for Nike in the PFL: Abou Sy (Stallion), Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC), Curt Dizon (Ceres-Negros), Mahir Karic (Ceres-Negros), Jeffrey Chirstiaens (Ceres-Negros), Floriano Pasilan (Green Archers), John Celiz (Green Archers), Fitch Arboleda (Stallion), Ashley Flores (Mendiola FC), Chima Uzoka (Stallion)

Photo credit: Philippines Football League

Stallion dominates, Kaya prevails as battle for early supremacy in PFL shapes up

Two matches in the Philippines Football League saw Stallion Laguna get a lopsided 6-1 win against Mendiola FC 1991 while Kaya FC Iloilo toiled to a 1-0 result against a resolute Global FC in last Saturday in the Philippines Football League.

Inspired second half for Stallion

After a seemingly close scoreline of 2-1 at halftime in favor of the hosts courtesy of an early Nathan Alquiros freekick in the sixth minute and a close range conversion by Fitch Arboleda in the eighth to go against a 20th minute penalty kick by Ashley Flores for the visiting side, the Biñan-based outfit produced an inspired performance after the restart to notch in four unanswered goals against 10-man Mendiola FC.

Substitute striker Chyma Uzoka produced a stellar output with his first hat-trick (55′, 83′, 87′) for his new club with Arboleda also adding another in the 86th minute to complete his brace.

Prior to the home side’s barrage, the writing was on the wall when Mendiola went down to ten-men in the 52nd minute when Franco Dela Torre got his marching orders from referee Michael Barajas for a second bookable offense.

The win puts Stallion in third place of the standings, overtaking Green Archers United (which they face on Wednesday, June 19) by a point.

Lone goal puts Kaya on top

Meanwhile, in an almost simultaneous match in Rizal Stadium, a 52nd minute opportunistic pounce by Alfred Osei has been the difference that broke Global’s gallant effort particularly from goalkeeper Nelson Gasic.

A lackluster performance in front of goal that lacked the usual killer instincts from their forward line, Kaya toiled to convert their chances despite a seemingly one-sided affair as Global focused on defense to avoid a similar walloping they suffered at the hands of Ceres-Negros.

At the end of the match, Global were successful in stymieing their more favored opponents for the most part, but they weren’t able to deny Kaya the full three points and hand them their first blemish in the standings as the Iloilo-based squad regains the leadership with a still perfect slate.

Battle for early supremacy shapes up

With Saturday’s results, a crucial match awaits on Wedensday. Although three fixtures are set on June 19, the match between Green Archers United and Stallion Laguna can be the most telling one as it will determine who will momentarily leap-frog Ceres-Negros and seize the provisional second spot in the table.

The clash will serve as the best opportunity for Green Archers to put their form to the test and how far they’ve progressed this early in their maiden season in the pro-ranks. Meanwhile for Stallion, their face-off with the Archers will serve as their next major challenge in their bid to vie for a spot for an AFC competition.

This Wednesday, June 19, is indeed going to be a major barometer for these two clubs.

Meanwhile, for the other fixtures, Philippine Air Force and Global set to battle on who will get their first win. On the other hand, winless Mendiola FC face a monumental task as they try to upset league leaders Kaya.

Photo credit: Kaya FC Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC

LaLiga club C.D. Leganés on a mission in Filipino town of… Leganes!

They maybe on the opposite sides of the world, but LaLiga’s Club Deportivo Leganés, located at the heart of Spain, travelled halfway around the globe with a purpose to the Southeast Asian namesake of the city they represent – Leganes, Iloilo, Philippines.

Fondly known in the footballing world as Los Pepineros (The Cucumbers), C.D. Leganés sent their defender Rodrigo “Rodri” Tarín as their emissary to the Far East with a specific set of tasks: See the municipality of Leganes in Iloilo, interact with the people, spread awareness about the club, and (most importantly) gain new fans and establish a connection through the name that the two places share: Leganes.

Upon arrival after an epic 16-hour flight, Rodri wasted no time as he quickly got amongst it with the locals within the commercial complex. Soon enough, a potential target came into view, a man wearing a Real Madrid jersey as Rodri quickly turned to an evangelist convincing the chap to support the Pepineros of Leganés as every true child of Leganes should!

A little later, more people heard of the gospel being preached by Rodri who seemed to be having a great time doing the honorable deeds for his club as another bloke, this time, in a Barcelona kit seemed to have been won by Rodri, accepting the Leganés scarf as a show of his newfound support.

Eventually, Rodri was able to reach the hotspot of the city – the epicenter of this outreach – where the best prospects for new Lega fans are situated, a local football pitch where kids of Gawad Kalinga communities play football and are open to supporting a LaLiga club that they could call their own.

True enough, the moment Rodri spent playing football with the local youth proved to be the most productive as not only did the kids spent a friendly match and learned bits of advise from a LaLiga player, but they were also introduced and made aware of the Pepineros, an exciting club from across the globe that plays in Spain’s top-flight, which share the same name as their hometown.

After all’s been said and done, Rodri’s mission seemed to be a successful and fruitful one as he was able to gather new Pepineros in a new football frontier, even including the City Mayor Jun Jun Jaen, and even reaching nearby Iloilo City where domestic cup (Copa Paulino Alcantara) champions Kaya FC Iloilo are based to come up with a pact of alliance as representatives of the Filipino club joined the Leganes defender in declaring the battlecry, Aúpa Lega!

At the end of the day, with the Pepinero defender clutching a bag of cucumbers bought from the local market as mementos, it seems to be: Mission accomplished, Rodri!

Club Deportivo Leganés

Founded in 1928, C.D. Leganés caught the fancy of every football fan ever since setting foot in Spain’s first division, LaLiga Santander, back in 2016.

After twice staving off relegation, the club approached the new season with the enthusiasm of one of LaLiga’s true up-and-coming sides, by finishing a respectable 13th in the 2018-19 season, having previously spent many years in the lower reaches of Spanish football. Moreover, the club reached the Copa del Rey semi-finals in 2018.

Known as Los Pepineros, C.D. Leganés as a club represents its city, Leganés, which is located right at the center of Spain near Madrid. They play their home matches in Estadio Municipal de Butarque which host up to 12,450 spectators.

An interesting fact about the club, C.D. Leganés was Samuel Eto’o’s first club in Spain.

Rodrigo “Rodri” Tarín

Born in Chiva, Valencia, 22-year-old Rodrigo Tarín began his career in Barcelona’s lower divisions playing for FC Barcelona B the last three years, where he won the 2013-14 UEFA Youth League and scoring a ninth minute goal in the final.

Tarín has been the captain of Barça B in the last part of the 2017-18 season in the Spanish Second Division. He also was a regular part of Spain’s youth teams. Tarín, stands out for being a versatile defender who can play the role of fullback and centerback positions. His imposing stature and aerial strength also makes him a threat through his heading ability making him an attacking option in set-pieces.

Tarín made a total of 18 appearances for C.D. Leganés in LaLiga, where 15 of those matches as a starter for a total of 1,429 playing minutes.

Photo credits: C.D. Leganés

pfl2019-totw-matchweek1

PFL Team of the Week #1

After a week of fixtures in the 2019 Philippines Football League that produced a total of sixteen goals, and with six of the seven participating teams seeing action at least once, here is the first edition of the Team of the Week.

Formation: 3-4-3

With Kaya FC Iloilo able to maintain their perfect start to the season after two matches, and without conceding a goal, it is not surprising that a very big chunk of the Team of the Week lineup is taken by their players.

Also, this could be the only edition that an honorable mention will be included for reasons that cannot be ignored.

Center Forward: Jordan Mintah (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Direct and explosive, Jordan Mintah finally got his lethal form back in front of goal after a lengthy recuperation from a knee injury that he suffered a year ago.

His hat-trick in the opening game against Green Archers United followed by an insurance goal against a hard-fought battle against Stallion Laguna put the Ghanaian forward in joint top spot of the individual goalscoring table with four markers.

Support Striker: Bienve Marañon (Ceres-Negros)

A cunning attacker who mainly operates in and around the box, but can also deliver the goods whether from the run of play or a dead-ball situation Bienve has been one of the main elements of Ceres-Negros’ rise to the top in Philippine football and as one of the best clubs in Southeast Asia.

Now, as the 2019 season begins, the Spanish striker is on a very bright start boosted by a hat-trick during The Busmen’s match against Air Force to add to his first goal in the domestic league off a draw against Stallion for a total of four goals that propels him as one of the top scorers at the moment.

Support Striker: Christian Zubiri (Green Archers United)

Definitely the impact player for this week, Christian Zubiri delivered the goal for Green Archers that proved to be the winner in the match against Global.

With the tie very much in the balance, and the possibility of a lackluster draw or even another disappointing loss looming on the horizon, Christian changed all that with his introduction in the second half, first with an immediate threatening attempt, followed by that pivotal 72nd-minute strike that put the WFL champions on to the winning column.

The fact that Zubiri’s involvement in the match against Global was his first for the Archers’ campaign, the DLSU-alum’s stellar few minutes could provide a good reason for head coach Joel Villarino to put him as a starter in the next fixture.

Left Winger: Curt Dizon (Ceres-Negros)

Although Curt Dizon did not start during Ceres’ league opener against Stallion, the left winger was able to maximize the opportunity given to him as a starter in his club’s second assignment by scoring a brace and delivering an assist during their 5-0 win against Philippine Air Force.

His pace and dynamism while operating mainly on the left flank have been his main strengths which provided The Busmen the needed width that complemented their wing play for goal-scoring chances during the match.

Midfielder: Jovin Bedic (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Club captain Jovin Bedic has been one of the threats and creators for his squad on both of Kaya’s fixtures at the opening week of the PFL.

But, his 25th minute opener from the penalty spot against Stallion proved to be the most crucial as it set the tone in a clash that was anticipated as semthing that could go either way. In the end, his goal proved telling as it helped Kaya towards a monumental 2-0 win to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Midfielder: Darryl Roberts (Kaya FC Iloilo)

One of the main cogs in Kaya FC’s perfect start to the PFL season, Darryl has been instrumental for his club by being a facilitator or an additional threat as an attacking midfielder.

One of his forays into the box against Stallion actually resulted to Jovin Bedic’s penalty kick goal that proved telling towards a hard-fought away win.

Right Midfielder/Winger: Nathan Alquiros (Stallion Laguna)

One of the bright spots in Stallion’s promising squad this 2019 PFL campaign, his work ethic and creativity from the right side of the pitch provided the much needed impetus for his squad.

A man-of-the-match award in that massive draw against defending champions Ceres has been a testament to his qualities. Meanwhile, despite dropping their second assignment at home against Kaya, Alquiros actually produced what could have been an equalizing goal for Stallion if only opposing goalkeeper Michael Casas wasn’t able to pull off a massive intervention.

Defender: Martin Steuble (Ceres-Negros)

Although Ceres-Negros’ defensive qualities might be considered not to be playing at par to their usually lofty standards, Martin Steuble could be considered an exception due to his contributions on the other end.

A steady supplier of promising chances for his club with his deliveries into the box as a wing-back, he’s also an occasional goalscorer in desperate situations, as exemplified with his spectacular 24th minute equalizer against Stallion.

Defender: Masanari Omura (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Kaya’s long-serving sentinel, has always been a stabilizing force at the backline a clean sheet on both against the Green Archers and Stallion are evident of his contributions as a central defender.

But what puts him in this season’s first edition of Team of the Week is his quality assist from deep to Jayson Panhay that led to a goal two minutes shy of the hour mark against Green Archers. Such a moment of quality distribution, plus the fact that he can be an offensive option (and score) in set-piece situations make him one of Kaya’s most important players.

Defender: Tyler Matas (Kaya FC Iloilo)

A defensive machine for Kaya, Tyler Matas’ work ethic and reliability at the back cannot be denied.

But his ability to supply those precise and threatening long throw-ins towards the oppositions’ box for strikers to pounce on, reminiscent of Stoke City FC’s Rory Delap, put him in this list.

Case in point when it comes to his long throws, is the one he pulled off against Green Archers last May 25 that led to Jordan Mintah’s 18th minute goal.

Goalkeeper: Michael Casas (Kaya FC Iloilo)

Despite only starting for his club’s second match, Michael Casas stood his ground for a commendable shift against a formidable Stallion team.

Considered a massive clash between two teams expected to be within the league’s top three, the agile shot-stopper was able to keep Stallion at bay to deny a possible comeback, notching a clean sheet in the process (the club’s second in as many games) for a monumental away win.

Honorable Mention: Kenneth Dolloso (GK, Philippine Air Force FC)

Despite ending up conceding a total of five goals, Air Force’s Kenneth Dolloso produced an inspired performance to keep Ceres-Negros’ lead to just one after the first half.

Along with that torrential shift between the posts, he was still able to avert an even more lopsided scoreline by saving several shots from the defending champions – a truly commendable effort by the Airmen’s custodian.

Week 1 Match Results

May 25, 2019: Kaya 4-0 Green Archers Utd; Stallion 2-2 Ceres
May 29, 2019: Stallion 0-2 Kaya; Air Force 0-5 Ceres; Green Archers Utd 1-0 Global

Photo credits: PFL, Kaya FC Iloilo, AFC Cup

AFCCup2019-MD2-Collage

AFC Cup: Ceres and Kaya players top goalscoring chart after Matchday 2

Five players from Ceres-Negros and Kaya FC Iloilo have made the Top 10 goalscoring chart after two rounds of fixtures in the AFC Cup 2019 group stage.

Matchday 2 in the ASEAN Zone has been one to savor for Filipino football fans as both Philippine club representatives notch convincing wins in their respective assignments.

First up, Ceres-Negros notched their second win in as many matches with a 3-1 scoreline as Bienvenido Maranon scored a hat-trick away against Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong last Tuesday, March 12, at the Go Dau Stadium.

On Wednesday afternoon (March 13), Kaya Iloilo attains its first win of the campaign in emphatic fashion as they thumped Singapore’s Home United 5-0 in their designated home ground, the Panaad Stadium, as Darryl Roberts (2′, 37′) and Alfred Osei (49′, 55′) score two goals each while team captain Jovin Bedic also saw the back of the net off a 33rd minute effort.

Such results put five players from both Filipino clubs into the top ten goalscoring chart according to AFC.

Maranon’s hat-trick puts him in joint top spot with four goals in total alongside Al Wehdat forward Baha’ Seif and Hanoi FC striker Ganiyu Oseni.

Jovin Bedic, Alfred Osei and Darryl Roberts round up the scorers’ table alongside Ceres-Negros winger OJ Porteria, who scored two goals in the opener against Shan United last February 26, with two goals each.

AFC Cup official goalscoring stats

From a team standpoint, both Filipino clubs also make waves in the scoring department as their respective outputs put them tied in fourth place with six goals scored in total for each.

Although, it is still very much early in the group phase, the positive results for both clubs in their respective Matchday 2 give them a head-start, putting them in a promising position as they aim to progress to the knockout phase.

Standings for both Ceres-Negros and Kaya FC Iloilo’s respective groups

Despite firing “yellow warnings” to oppositions, both Filipino clubs are up for mouthwatering clashes as Ceres-Negros host Indonesian giants and champions Persija Jakarta in Panaad on April 3 at 7:30PM, while Kaya travel to South Sulawesi in Indonesia to face Liga I runners-up PSM Makassar on April 2 at 4:00PM.

Both matches will be shown via ESPN5’s 5Plus and FOX Sports Asia channels.

Photo credits: AFC Cup