Spark of genius keeps Loyola in hunt for AFC playoff slot
Loyola Meralco veteran midfielder Anto Gonzales wasn’t supposed to play at central defense, especially against a tough and physical Kaya side that seems to play its best against the Sparks.
But with the Loyola lineup down to the bare bones, Sparks coach Simon McMenemy was left with no choice but to pair the 35-year-old up with Joaco Canas in the most important game of Loyola’s season yet.
It turned out to be a stroke of genius.
With Gonzales proving equal to every attack and Phil Younghusband regaining his scoring touch, the Sparks turned back Kaya, 2-1, Saturday in the United Football League at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The win kept the Sparks in the hunt for an AFC Cup playoff berth, while piling up the pressure on dethroned champion Ceres-La Salle, which was slated to play Global Sunday night.
JP Voltes also remained in contention after a walkover win over Laos in the earlier kickoff.
The loss pushed Kaya out of the battle for second place, which is now down to Loyola (40 points), Ceres (38 points) and JP Voltes (38 points).
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