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Burkey impresses in return as Ceres staves off Kaya's late rally

UFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

Nate Burkey fired two goals in his first game for Ceres, but his former club Kaya fell short of a comeback as the defending PFF-Smart Club Championship winner escaped with a 3-2 win in the nightcap of Day 1 of the round-robin quarterfinals at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City.

Burkey was acquired by Ceres prior to last season, but a major injury during training forced him to sit out the season. In his return to competitive football, the former Azkal showed he can still put up an A game.

Burkey put the Bacolod-based club ahead in the 32nd minute and completed the brace in the 62nd minute. An Angelo Marasigan goal came in between Burkey's points.

However, Jovin Bedic put Kaya on the scoreboard in the 77th minute and scored another header off a cross from O.J. Porteria five minutes later.

Ceres failed to seal the win earlier as the club missed on three free kicks from dangerous spots in an eight-minute span.

But Kaya failed to equalize in the final minute of stoppage time as Chris Greatwich overshot a free kick and Bedic barely missed a one-on-one try seconds later as Ceres gets the three points ahead of its Saturday night match against Loyola, a 4-0 winner against Laos in the earlier clash.