Loyola draws with Kaya in big UFL clash

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In a rare moment this UFL season, the Rizal Memorial Stadium was packed and lively on a Sunday night.

Football-playing children from Mindanao watched, and so was a PBA team having a bonding time with its new import.

The competing clubs' respective booster groups also gave their best chants with the loudest drumbeats.

They all witnessed an instant classic.

Loyola and Kaya played to a 3-3 draw to end their respective first round campaigns in a match that saw a lot of drama.

Drama already ensued before kickoff as both clubs played without their respective coaches.

Loyola's Simon McMenemy was suspended for the match after getting sent off in last week's showdown with Ceres, while Kaya has still yet to find a replacement for resigned mentor Adam Reekie, putting Manager Justin Tolentino in interim status for the second straight match.

Getting more support on Sunday with the presence of the participants of the Football for Peace kiddie tournament the club organized a day before and its basketball affiliate Meralco Bolts with new reinforcement Andre Emmett, Loyola got into the scoreboard first in the 13th minute when Phil Younghusband found attacking space near the goal line and struck a pointblank shot.

Kaya, however, took one goal back when Louis Clark scored in the 26th minute.

Things then began to get feisty in the 28th minute when Younghusband pushed Miguel Tanton after the latter fouled Phil's older brother James. Phil was handed a yellow card.

Phil and Tanton were at it again three minutes later when the latter fouled the earlier hardly, which he did not like. Both players got booked, but with Younghusband getting his second yellow, he was sent off.

A minute after Younghusband got a red card, Lee Joo-Young put Loyola back up when he got the ball after a scramble inside the box and drilled it past Nick O'Donnell.

O.J. Porteria, however, quickly equalized for Kaya four minutes after when he recovered the ball after Tomas Trigo failed to secure the ball after saving Clark's shot and sent it to the back of the net.

Graham Caygill appeared to score another goal for Loyola in the 41st minute, but Referee Linjun Talaver already put a halt to play after Max Wright went down to an injury prior to the goal, nullifying it in the process.

The physicality of the match also led to earlier injuries to Wright's teammate Adam Mitter and Kaya's Alfred Osei, forcing both clubs to make quick substitutions.

Five minutes into the second half, it was Kaya's turn to have a goal not counted when Talaver whistled a foul on Jovin Bedic just before Richard Greer drilled a close-range shot in.

Bedic, however, bounced back from the mistake 12 minutes later when he gave Kaya its only taste of the lead, 3-2.

Clark had a huge chance to stretch Kaya's lead in the 69th minute when he struck a goal, but the point was nullified as he was offside.

Eight minutes later, Anthony Putrus-Schnell received the free kick from a close position and struck a low-ball goal to tie the match.

Kaya still had one more crack in stealing the win in the 82nd minute when substitute Joshua Beloya grabbed the loose ball when Trigo stopped another attempt by Clark. Yves Ashime, however, came just in time to block Beloya's potential game-winner. Both clubs failed to get decent attempts in the end.

The draw kept Kaya and Loyola in fourth and fifth places respectively, trailing third-placed Global on goal difference.

Both Kaya and Loyola also failed to steal the top spot from Ceres, which lost to Global on Saturday night.