Asia AFC Champions League

Marinos Withstood Brave Kaya to Eliminate the Filipinos

Kaya FC-Iloilo’s hopes of reaching the AFC Champions League knockouts were snuffed out on Tuesday after the Filipino champions were beaten by Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos, who ran out 2-1 winners at the Rizal Memorial Stadium despite Kaya’s valiant performance.

The action got off to an exciting start in Manila, with Kaya’s Abou Sy and Yokohama’s Kota Mizunuma both seeing their attempts on goal being saved within the first 10 minutes. Shortly after, the two sides had a pop at it once again, with Yokohama’s Kenyu Sugimoto and Kaya’s Ricardo Sendra hitting the woodwork with headers at opposite ends of the field.

The goalpost seemed to have a stroke of luck when Akito Saito’s attempted clearance struck his own crossbar, much to the relief of the Kaya defender.

However, the deadlock was finally broken in the 26th minute when Yuhei Murakami received a pass from Kenta Inoue on the right side of the area. The 22-year-old fired a shot across Quincy Kammeraad into the far corner of the net.

Yokohama continued to dominate possession and threatened to extend their lead. But against the flow of the game, hosts Kaya equalized with six minutes remaining in the first half. Sendra played a precise through ball down the middle for Daizo Horikoshi to chase, and the forward outpaced his compatriot Takuya Kida before firing past Hiroki Iikura in the Yokohama goal.

The second half started at a slower pace compared to the frantic beginning of the match, with few clear-cut chances. It wasn’t until the 65th minute that Sugimoto had a golden opportunity with an unmarked header, but he directed it wide of the goal.

Robert Lopez Mendy was subbed in to provide additional attacking impetus for Kaya, but the Senegalese forward was shown a red card after a challenge on Keigo Sakakibara, lasting only 22 minutes in the second half.

Things took a turn for the worse for the home side as Kevin Muscat’s Yokohama side regained the lead in spectacular fashion through substitute Yan Matheus. The Brazilian skillfully lifted the ball from Nam Tae-hee’s pass and unleashed a powerful volley from the edge of the area, beating Kammeraad emphatically with just three minutes left on the clock, ensuring a win that kept Yokohama’s hopes of qualifying out of their group alive while at the same time extinguishing Kaya’s faltering qualification hopes.