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Kaya wins UFL Cup after trouncing Ceres in shootout

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--After six long years, Kaya will bring home a silverware.

The UFL's winningest franchise in terms of league titles took home the UFL Cup title after downing Ceres via penalty shootout, 4-2, in the championship game at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

Kaya, which most recent championship was the 2009 league plum, actually had a chance to finish off Ceres, the recently-crowned league holder, in regulation as the club opened a 2-0 lead in the first 56 minutes.

Tishan Hanley closed out an almost scoreless first half by putting Kaya on the board just before the referee blew the halftime whistle, while Diego Barrera duplicated 11 minutes after the restart.

But Lee Jeong-Woo struck one goal back for Ceres in the 63rd minute, while Juani Guirado took advantage of Kaya going a man down by heading in the equalizer in the 73rd minute, four minutes after Chris Greatwich was sent off for incurring two yellow cards.

Ceres actually had a chance to even steal the victory as the team had two attempts in the 76th minute only to be stopped by Nick O'Donnell.

Marwin Angeles had Ceres' best chance as he broke loose of the Kaya defense and launched a shot that went barely off right in the 87th minute.

Angeles had his game-winner attempt spoiled anew in the seventh minute of the extension as O'Donnell was quick to stop the shot.

Late substitute Louis Clark nearly put Kaya back up in the 105th minute as he got past the Ceres backline to get an opening only for the attempt to go over the post.

No club got a good look at the net in the second extra time, leading to the penalty shootout.

O.J. Porteria and Aly Borromeo put Kaya on the board, while Bienve MaraƱon and Lee evened things up for Ceres.

Kenshiro Daniels had his shot saved by Mike Casas, but O'Donnell responded by saving that of Paul Mulders.

Christian Ayew made his penalty to put Kaya in the lead anew, and O'Donnell sent the club to the brink of the title by saving Martin Steuble's spot kick.

Clark sealed the win and the end of the six-year title drought with his penalty for the final tally. The victory also handed the club an AFC Cup qualifying spot.

Kaya's win also put a heartbreaking end to Ceres' bid to complete a season sweep after winning the league and the preceding FA League Cup.

In earlier action, Loyola also needed a penalty shootout before beating Stallion, 4-2, for third place.

Both clubs were scoreless in regulation, and the match went straight to the shootout without going through extra time as per league rule regarding the battle for third.