PFL: Meralco downs Kaya in Manila derby

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JPV Marikina scores upset vs Ceres-Negros

Meralco Manila’s Phil Younghusband battles for possession against Joven Bedic of Kaya. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines – FC Meralco Manila toppled Kaya Makati, 2-0, for its fifth consecutive victory even as JPV Marikina pulled off the biggest upset of the Philippines Football League (PFL) season so far last Saturday in Manila.

Joaco Canas opened the scoring for Meralco with a glancing header in the 43rd minute, before Phil Younghusband doubled the advantage with a spot kick in the 66th minute for the Sparks.

Meralco climbed to 15 points, three clear of JPV Marikina.

The Marikina side stunned Ceres Negros, 2-1, thanks to goals from Takumi Uesato and former Ceres striker J Baguioro at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

A late strike from Bienve Maranon in the 83rd minute set the stage for a thrilling finish, but JPV hung on to claim its fourth win in six matches.

Ueseto opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Kota Kawase fouled the JPV striker inside the area. Baguioro went on to torment his old club with a 79th minute goal.

Kaya lost for only the second time in six matches, staying at 10 points for third place. Ceres remains in sixth place with four points.

In the battle dubbed as the Metro Manila derby, it was Aris Caslib’s men who got off to a bright start with their pressing that put Kaya on the back foot in the first half. The Sparks were then rewarded with a Canas goal off a throw in.

“We were able to sustain a high tempo in the first 30 minutes,” said Caslib. “It was a total team effort.”

The Sparks then got a controversial penalty in the second half, when Jordan Mintah appeared to strike Milan Nikolic during a corner kick.

Referee Clifford Daypuyat not only awarded Meralco with a penalty, he also sent off Mintah, thus making it the fourth straight match that Kaya ended the game with only 10 men.

Younghusband rolled his effort into the low left corner to make it 2-0. The Sparks claimed a third consecutive clean sheet for goalkeeper Ace Villanueva.

“In our system if you have one player who loses concentration, a team like Kaya can capitalize on it. But we didn’t,” said Younghusband, who skippered the Sparks in the absence of older brother James who was sidelined by an ankle injury. “Every single player worked their socks off and gave everything.”

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