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Reigning UFL Cup holder Kaya blasts past hapless Forza, sends message to New Radiant ahead of AFC Cup clash

By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--Defending UFL Cup champion Kaya blasted past Forza 6-0, as the final week of the group stage concluded its first day at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.

A hat-trick by Robert Lopez-Mendy proved pivotal to the rout as Kaya prepares for its first continental home match against Maldives' New Radiant on Tuesday with its fourth consecutive win in Group A.

The Senegalese marksman was duly backed up with goals from Kenshiro Daniels and Junior Muñoz and an own goal by Alfonso Montelibano as Stephen Nicholls's Kaya ended its Group A campaign with 12 points and will face either Green Archers United or bitter rival Loyola when the knockout stages kicks off in April.

Daniels opened the account for Kaya in the 12th minute as he converted a timely Joven Bedic lob pass and floated it over makeshift keeper Yoshiharu Koizumi, who filled in for the suspended Abu Ibrahim, and into the net.

Fourteen minutes later, Lopez-Mendy doubled Kaya's edge by converting on a through ball off a counter and blasts it into the roof of the net

The former GAU marksman bagged his brace six minutes into half-time, where he converted a Dominic Del Rosario cross and headed it into the left corner of the net to make it 3-0.

Just a minute before the hour mark, the Senegalese striker made sure of the 4-0 scoreline, completing his hat-trick off a Daniels assist by firing from eleven yards and into the bottom right corner.

Kaya made it 5-0 eight minutes later when a shot by Daniels was deflected by Montelibano only to mistakenly guiding it into Forza's own net, much to dismay of manager Arvin Soliman.

Muñoz then put the cherry on the ice cream three minutes from time by scoring off a second follow-up after OJ Porteria and Bedic was stopped initially by Koizumi.

"We're happy to get that out of the way now and we can look forward to Tuesday," quipped the Englishman after the match.

Isaac Annan picked his first clean sheet of the UFL Cup along with Zach Banzon, who substituted the Ghanian in the 74th minute, as first choice Matthew Acton did not play to prepare for Kaya's home debut in the AFC Cup.

Forza suffered its third setback in the group and might be facing either Ceres or Global in the crossover quarterfinal, depending on the result of the JP Voltes-Agila fixture on Friday.

Kaya clearly dominated the entire match, outshooting its opponent by 19 and having 28 percent more possession than their victims.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada