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Iloilo top of PFL after grounding Davao in new home

Jordan Mintah was mobbed by his teammates after scoring Kaya's first-ever goal in Iloilo. (Kaya Iloilo)
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--Kaya Iloilo is the new leader of the PFL this season after clipping the wings of Davao Aguilas in their first-ever match in their new home Sunday afternoon.

The 4-2 win was made complicated when they played the last ten minutes with ten men, but that didn't matter for Noel Marcaida's men, causing chaos on top by overtaking Ceres Negros from the summit, a week after they inflicted the champions their first league loss on their own patch, despite having played two games more than the Busmen.

“We played so solidly, not just defensively, but in attack as well. The players really wanted to get maximum points for all the fans,” Marcaida said after finally getting their home debut after a two-month wait.

Jordan Mintah clocked the fastest strike for this year, finding the net 46 seconds from the opening whistle in the Iloilo Sports Complex on a 1-2 play with skipper Jovin Bedic culminating with a right-footed shot inside the box for the Ghanian's seventh goal of the year.

Robert Lopez-Mendy then joined the fray when he got a hat-trick in front of the 1,205 Ilonggos, the first came from a howler by Nick O'Donnell five minutes before half-time by cleaning up the mess after the latter let his side down by mishandling a popped up header by Connor Tacagni.

Dennis Villanueva saw his volleyed strike nullified for offside two minutes after the restart, but James Younghusband made amends for it when his header saw Kaya's lead cut in half in the 53rd.

However, Lopez-Mendy did not have any empathy left for the grounded Aguilas of Marlon Maro, heading home a Miguel Tanton free kick a minute before the hour mark to restore their two-goal lead.

Takashi Odawara pulled one back in the 70th minute from another Davao corner, but Kaya had the final say in the match three minutes later, with the former GAU forward converting Tanton's second free kick with another header to hike his season account to four goals.

The hosts held firm despite Shirmar Felongco's dismissal for a second bookable offence with ten minutes left, sparking celebrations as they wrote their new chapter in their fabled history on a bright start.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada