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Iloilo tops Copa Group B after scraping past Marikina

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Robert Lopez-Mendy just brought Kaya a Copa Paulino Alcantara semifinal in Iloilo. PFL photo (file)
By Kevin Estrada

CARMONA -- Kaya Iloilo just brought the Copa Paulino Alcantara in their own patch after topping Group B with a pulsating 1-0 win Wednesday afternoon at the PFF-NTC pitch inside San Lazaro.

With only a draw needed to top their group and bring the semifinal in the hometown of the famous Filipino striker, Robert Lopez-Mendy did more that just that, firing the lone strike just five minutes into the match to set up their clash with Stallion Laguna, while Marikina will have to go away at Davao Aguilas in the other semifinal.

However, the group stage finale took a heated turn in the second half, when two dismissals in an eight minute span had haunted both clubs ahead of their clashes in the last four.

Camelo Tacusalme was first to be sent to the showers after his second bookable offence in the 67th minute after colliding with Kennedy Uzoka, with the centre-half was booked earlier in an aerial challenge.

Then the ultimate tragedy struck for Marikina in the 75th minute, when Nelson Gasic was shown a straight red by referee Mick Jon Pineda after brushing off Connor Tacagni in an obvious denial of scoring chance way outside of the box.

Without a substitute goalkeeper, Uzoka had to put the gloves on for the next 15 minutes as he had a shot by Kaya that rattled off the crossbar.

Marikina had a chance for an equalizer just before full time, but Keigo Moriyasu's free kick hit the top left edge of the goalpost to save Ace Villanueva's blushes.

JPV Marikina: Gasic (GK), Suzuki (Dela Torre 56'), Moriyasu, CaƱedo (Franksson), Uzoka, Angeles, Elnar (C), Basa, Celiz (Altiche 80'), Sandoval, Fadrigalan

Kaya Iloilo: Villanueva (GK), Omura, Tacusalme, Jalsor Soriano, Tanton (C) (Amita 57'), Janrick Soriano, Pasinabo (Felongco 80'), Osei, Lopez-Mendy (Bedic 57'), Angeles, Tacagni

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