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Loyola enters PFF-Smart semis after 2-2 draw with Kaya

Louis Clark nearly gave Kaya the win late in its match against Loyola. UFL (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

Loyola moved on to the semifinals of the PFF-Smart Club Championship despite being held by Kaya to a 2-2 draw in their match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila City.

Kaya, which needed a win to bolster its own chance of making the semis, drew first blood when Miguel Tanton scored in the 23rd minute.

But Matthew Hartmann scored one back for Loyola seconds later and Phil Younghusband put Loyola up later in the first half.

O.J. Porteria, who came in as a substitute, immediately stepped on the gas at the resumption of play, only to be stopped by Tomas Trigo.

Kaya continued to threaten later in the second half as the club took control of the game for most of the period.

Jovin Bedic finally put Kaya back in the game at the 65th minute as he found a hole in the Loyola defense and shot a long-range effort that went in.

Louis Clark had the best chance of putting Kaya up for good as he tried to chip in a shot against a committing Trigo. Clark's chance, however, just narrowly went off left.

Younghusband found himself free for a potential go-ahead goal for Loyola, but Nick O'Donnell made a fantastic save.

The match concluded in an intriguing moment as the referee interrupted Kaya's final attack and handed James Younghusband a yellow card for dissenting to a non-call.

Loyola finished the quarterfinals with seven points and will finish first in Group A regardless of the result of the Ceres-Laos, which is ongoing as of writing.

Kaya, which finished with four points, could join Loyola in the semis if Ceres fails to beat Laos, who once defeated the defending national champion in last year's UFL Division 2 season.