Kaya win, Air Force and Mendiola draw in PPL inaugural match day.
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 28, 2019 12:01 PM
(Photo courtesy of Philippine Premier League/Bob Guerrero)
Inspiring heroes, superb goals, and a great atmosphere all played a part in the Philippine Premier League's first ever match day in Rizal Memorial on Saturday.
Several hundred fans saw Kaya FC - Iloilo get their first win at the expense of Globe Green Archers United FC with a 3-0 victory while Philippine Air Force and Mendiola split the points with an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Nimrod Balabat made history with the very first PPL goal in the 8th minute in the first match between Mendiola and PAF. The SEA Games vet lashed in a long range right footer past PAF goalie Mark Mendome.
Mendome was able to top over Ashley Flores' strike that could have made it 2-0 to the Red Lions.
The Airmen leveled in the 39th when fullback Rudolf Bebanco nodded in a loose ball off a rebound.
Minutes later Mendome was called upon again to deny Shaun Soberano's shot.
Mendiola retook the lead in the 58th when Papuh Corsame exploited some indecision in the Air Force back line to power home a go-ahead goal.
But Air Force made sure points would be shared when the ageless Yanti Barsales, 46 years old, produced a cultured finish from the left flank to beat Mendiola goalie Ralph Datoy in the 79th minute and get the Man of the Match nod.
Kaya welcomed back Azkals legend Simone Rota for his first competitive match in nine months and he was rock solid in the back as Kaya won decisively.
The Ilonggo team wasted little time in going ahead. In the 11th minute Darryl Roberts laid back elegantly to Arnel Amita just inside the box and the diminutive son of Maco, Compostela Valley blasted home for 1-0.
Just five minutes later the Kaya lead was 2-0 when Jovin Bedic delivered another one of his trademark volleys for 2-0. Bedic won Man of the Match honors.
The Archers held the fort for the next hour, with Jimuel Ariola having a free kick saved and Fredy Mbang firing wide from 30 yards.
But Kaya put the game out of reach in the 79th when sub Jordan Mintah centered to an unmarked Yannick Tuason, who speared the ball past Henri Bandeken.
John Celiz could have pulled a goal back late for GGAU but he shot just wide.
"The boys worked very hard in the first 20 minutes and were able to dictate the tempo for the whole match," said Kaya FC Iloilo coach Noel Marcaida.
The schedule for the subsequent weeks will be released by the league shortly.
The Philippine Premier League is the new top tier of men's senior football in the Philippines. It is a professional football competition that also serves as the country's qualifier for AFC club competitions.
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