UFL: Kaya stuns Global; PSG wallops Air Force
MANILA, Philippines — A brace from former national team striker Nate Burkey powered Kaya to a stunning 3-2 victory over defending champion Global late Thursday at the packed Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Struggling for most of the season, Burkey dispelled doubts of his abilities, scoring the equalizer and the game-winner in the second half as Kaya fought back from two goals down to pull off its biggest win of the season.
In a duel of two teams that finished 1-2 last season, two quickfire goals from Patrick Reichelt in the first nine minutes looked to have put Global on its way to another rout.
But Kaya proved resilient in climbing out of the early deficit and claiming only its fourth win of the season and dealing Global its first league defeat in more than a year.
“This squad’s got tremendous belief even when we were 2-nil down,” said Kaya coach David Perkovic, who has steered Kaya to 10 out of a possible 12 points since he took over last month.
Kaya remained in fourth spot with 15 points, but denied Global to reclaim top spot from Stallion Sta. Lucia, which will end the first round at No. 1 with 24 points.
“We still got ground to make up but we will fight every game and try to make it as close as we can,” said Perkovic.
Earlier, Pasargad overwhelmed nine-man Air Force, 5-0, inflicting more misery on the former champion, which lost all of its matches in the first round.
Emmanuel Mbata scored twice, while Younnouse Yaogo, Vasseba Torre and Kalilou Torre contributed a goal each as PSG climbed to sixth spot with 11 points ahead of Nomads on goal difference.
A controversial non-call from referee Rey Ritaga led to the opening goal by Yaogo in the 30th minute. Ritaga waived off an offside call on Emmanuel Mbata and Yaogo pounced on the confusion to score past Ken Dolloso. Paul Concepcion and Martin Doctora were sent off in the aftermath of the incident as they confronted Ritaga.
Japanese midfielder Masa Omura sparked the Kaya comeback, tapping in from close-range in the 18th minute after Global goalkeeper Roland Sadia could only save Logan McDaniel’s free kick to his path.
It was a double-whammy for Global as Sadia also dislocated his elbow in the same play, forcing coach Brian Reid to give Ed Sacapano his debut.
Sacapano was also hurt in the 35th minute by a studs-first challenge by Alu Kigbu and had to undergo treatment, delaying the match for 10 minutes.
Global failed to regain its rhythm and Kaya equalized just before the hour mark when a lazy back pass by defender Val Kama was intercepted and finished well by Burkey.
The comeback was complete 10 minutes from time when Sacapano palmed away substitute OJ Porteria’s shot to the middle and Burkey was quickest to react to head home from six yards.
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