MANILA – Kaya Iloilo had a successful homecoming on Saturday with a 2-1 win against United Clark at the place it calls home, the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City.
Jarvey Gayoso hit the winner in the 78th minute even as Kaya Iloilo made up for a costly blunder just before halftime that could have denied the club of the win in its first home match since 2019.
Nano Amita brought the home crowd to a frenzy after pulling a double nutmeg to score a 35th-minute goal for a 1-0 Kaya Iloilo lead.
Marco Casambre, however, was caught for a handball inside the box while trying to clear out Pika Minegishi's cross, and former Kaya Iloilo star Kenshiro Daniels slotted the penalty at the top side of the goal for the equalizer just before referee Clifford Daypuyat called it a half.
The decider came with 12 minutes left in regulation time when Gayoso, who came on as a substitute, received a short cross from Ryo Fujji and drilled in a point-blank goal.
Drama, however, ensued in the second-half stoppage time as Gayoso's supposed dagger just seconds into the extension was waved off due to an offside infraction.
The bigger drama came right on the final set piece of the match when Daypuyat whistled for a foul against a United Clark player that nullified a supposed equalizer that could have forced a draw.
Daypuyat gave coach Frank Muescan a yellow card for entering the pitch.
With the win, Kaya Iloilo moved up to 30 points and opened a six-point lead against United Clark, which remained at 24, at the top of the table of the Philippine Football League (PFL) ahead of the FIFA World Cup break.
United Clark suffered its first loss in domestic play since Kaya Iloilo also defeated them in the final match of the 2020 PFL bubble season in Carmona. (PNA)