|Kaya Iloilo players join Audie Menzi in celebrating his goal that would eventually lift the club to the AFC Champions League group stages. AFC|
MANILA--An Audie Menzi goal was all Kaya Iloilo needed to clinch a group stage spot in the AFC Champions League after downing Shanghai Port, 1-0, in the Group F qualifier at the Pathum Thani Stadium in Bangkok late Wednesday night.
In what would be its biggest match in its 25 years of existence, Kaya Iloilo broke through in the 17th minute when Menzi converted a header off a corner kick for the lone tally in the scoreboard.
Despite not fielding in its key players from last season and brought in mainly its second team, Shanghai Port still put up a gallant stand, even forcing Kaya Iloilo goalie Mike Casas to exert much effort.
Shanghai first threatened just before halftime, but Casas put up a great save to keep the Chinese club at bay entering the intermission.
In the 86th minute, however, Shanghai got probably the closest it can be to a goal after a corner kick scramble led to a powerful shot only that Casas once again stopped the play.
Shanghai had one last try off the corner just before the final whistle, but Kaya Iloilo's backline held forth.
Kaya Iloilo became the second PFL club to enter the ACL group stages, joining outright qualifier United Clark, the reigning PFL champ.
In what is looming to be the "group of death" in the East Zone, Kaya Iloilo will join Group F, consisting of Thai League 1 champion BG Pathum United, the host of the Group F bubble, Vietnamese league top placer Viettel, and defending ACL champion Ulsan Hyundai.
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