|Mendy scored a hat trick for Kaya Iloilo in his return. Kaya FC Iloilo|
By Dugout Philippines
ILOILO CITY—Robert Lopez Mendy ensured his return to the Iloilo Sports Complex was another performance to remember, as his hat-trick steered Kaya FC–Iloilo to a 4-2 victory over JPV Marikina.
The match started in perfect fashion for the hosts.
Within two minutes, Marikina defender Suzuki Tsubasa mistakenly lifted the ball over his own goalkeeper to open the scoring.
Four minutes after, Jovin Bedic’s searching ball forward found Lopez Mendy, who expertly lifted it over the keeper for his first goal of the day.
Twelve minutes later, the Senegalese striker made it 3-0.
Connor Tacagni made a rampaging run on the right side to start the move. Once in the final third, he offloaded the ball to Jovin Bedic inside the box, who in turn, found Robert.
The striker bamboozled a couple defenders before firing a low shot into the net.
At the hour mark, JPV Marikina showed signs of life, as J Baguioro’s far post header cut the lead to two.
But Lopez Mendy restored the advantage shortly after, volleying home Chy Villaseñor’s cross to complete his hat-trick —equaling his output in his last match at the Iloilo Sports Complex back in May.
Marikina scored again 10 minutes from time, but Keigo Moriyasu’s goal was nothing more than a consolation.
“The key to our success in this game is we started really aggressive. The front men were very clinical, and we were up three goals in 20 minutes. I want to say thank you to Robert Lopez Mendy because his hat-trick brought us to victory,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.
“As you know it’s not easy to play three games in a week. You need to be really fit to do that. Fitness was an issue for both teams because we have a similar calendar. But the team did well,” said Man of the Match Robert Lopez Mendy.
“In the first 20 minutes we finished the game already. That was the key,” he continued. “I think this field is good luck for us. I hope it continues to be good luck for me. If I can get a hat-trick every time, it would be good for us!”
“It feels great,” said Lopez Mendy on finally playing in Iloilo after missing the last two home games due to suspension. “It’s really a big motivation to know the crowd is behind you and pushing you no matter what. It makes you feel like you want to play and make the fans enjoy. It’s beautiful, it’s great.”
Follow the site on Twitter: @DugoutPH