Meralco Manila’s Phil Younghusband battles for possession against Joven Bedic of Kaya
FC Meralco Manila leaned on goals from Joaco Canas and Phil Younghusband to topple Kaya Makati, 2-0, for its fifth straight win even as JPV Marikina pulled off the biggest upset of the Philippinez Football League season so far last Saturday in Manila.
Cañas opened the scoring with a glancing header in the 43rd minute before Younghusband doubled the advantage from the spot in the 66th minute for the Sparks who climbed to fifteen points, three clear of JPV.
The Marikina side stunned Ceres Negros, 2-1, thanks to goals from Takumi Uesato and former Ceres striker J Baguioro at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
A late striker 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.
Uesato opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Kota Kawase fouled the JPV striker inside the area. Baguioro tormented his old club with a 79th minute goal.
Kaya lost for the second time in six matches as it stayed at 10 points for third spot. Ceres remains sixth 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 game that put Kaya on the backfoot in the first half. The Sparks were rewarded with Cañas goal off a throw in.
“We were able to sustain a high tempo in the first thirty minutes,” said Caslib. “It was a total team effort.”.
The Sparks were rewarded a controversial penalty when Jordan Mintah appeared to have struck Milan Nikolic during a corner kick. Referee Clifford Daypuyat not only gave the penalty but also sent off Mintah marking 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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