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Kennedy Uzoka says desire to win fueled historic game-winner for Ilocos

Kennedy Uzoka went for a somersault after scoring the game-winner for Ilocos. Jojo Lirio/Smile 8
By Ivan Saldajeno

BIÑAN--With only eight minutes left in regulation, Kennedy Uzoka found himself on the hot seat after Charlie Beaton kicked the ball to him off an interception.

With the score tied, 1-all, and him blitzing past JPV Marikina's backline, Uzoka only had reigning UFL Golden Glove winner Nelson Gasic to beat, and the Fil-Nigerian youngster did not disappoint, blasting the ball past Gasic.

That goal would lead to what Ilocos United was waiting for.

Uzoka's shot gave Ilocos its much awaited breakthrough win in the PFL, shocking Marikina, 2-1, at the Biñan Football Stadium on Saturday night.

"What was in my mind was just the win. We needed to score that goal against JPV," Uzoka, whose heroic earned him Man of the Match honor, told Dugout Philippines after the victory.

Uzoka also said that going clutch was fulfilling for him.

"It was really a good experience to win the game. I was just happy because we really deserve the win today," he continued.

Coach Ian Gillan, in a separate interview with Dugout Philippines, said that bringing the ball to the six-foot-one striker was the game plan.

"We always speak about Kennedy's speed, because he's one of the quickest players in the league. I ask, 'Can we get a one-on-one play with the goalkeeper with Kennedy in behind?' That was something we've been working for weeks," Gillan said.

However, he thought Uzoka's dagger would have not been made possible without Beaton's courageous move.

"The winning goal was from an act of bravery of the smallest player on the field against the tallest central defender for JPV," Gillan lauded Beaton in prevailing in what he thought was a "David-and-Goliath affair".

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno