Expect nothing but fireworks when Kaya FC-Makati hosts Ceres-Negros FC in the first leg of the PFL Semifinals on December 3 at the University of Makati Stadium in Metro Manila.
Kaya FC-Makati 1-1 Ceres-Negros FC
Both teams opened the PFL in the scorching heat of the UMak Stadium last May 6 . Ceres-Negros who just came from Singapore for their final AFC Cup group stage had very little preparation for the match but led just a minute before halftime from an Iain Ramsay opener.
A disallowed Omid Nazari goal allowed Kaya to claw back with an equalizer from former Ceres-La Salle player Marwin Angeles. The match ended with both teams sharing a point in opening day.
Ceres-Negros FC 3-1 Kaya FC-Makati
Their first encounter in Bacolod last June was a more entertaining affair under the lights. The deadlock was only broken in the first half of injury time after a clinical finish from Bienvenido Maranon.
Kaya would restore parity in the second half with a goal from Robert Lopez-Mendy but Ceres was awarded in a penalty after Maranon was clipped by Ref Cuaresma in the box.
The visitors were not happy with the call which they deemed soft but Maranon scored the go ahead penalty. The Spanish midfielder added another to complete the 3-1 win.
Kaya FC-Makati 2-3 Ceres-Negros FC
Fresh from its conquest of the ASEAN Zone in the AFC Cup, Ceres-Negros traveled to Makati bringing with them the right momentum in the third match.
Early goals from Nazari and Dods Pasinabo put the Busmen comfortably ahead in the first half. Mendy was again the dangerman as he scored for Kaya but Fernano Rodriguez was quick to resttore the two-goal edge. Makati’s Jordan Mintah scored his own in the dying minutes to complete the scoring in the game.
Ceres-Negros FC 3-2 Kaya FC-Makati
Their final match in Bacolod last October was easily the most entertaining and controversial match in the PFL thus far. After a stunning opening goal in the 3rd minute from Kaya’s Mintah, the home squad battled back with two goals from Maranon and Rodriguez just ten minutes later.
Controversy erupted when a kick at the back of Roland Muller’s head after a save made him clutch in agony allowing Alfred Osei to tap in the equalizer. Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic was sent off after complaining of non-call on the play.
The Busmen were reduced to ten men minutes from time but they willed back with great team play to allow Rodriguez the winner in injury time.
Though Ceres-Negros would be the favorites on paper with an unbeaten record over Kaya, statistics are thrown out of the window with given the circumstances both teams leading into the Dec 3 tiff.
Kaya FC will be the fresher team after playing their last match last November 18. Ceres-Negros meanwhile have played three more competitive matches since the said date.
The two teams are likely to miss key players in the first leg which will increase the unpredictability of the result. Miguel Tanton and Adam Reed are out for Kaya due to suspensions meted by the league a few weeks ago.
Their absence would put their midfield in question but Antonio Ugarte and Marwin Angeles are expected to fill in the gaps for the Makati representatives.
Manny Ott and Fernando Rodriguez will be doubtful for Ceres-Negros as both players are recovering from injuries incurred weeks prior. OJ Porteria, Omid Nazari, and Patrick Reichelt have been playing well the last few weeks and are expected to to do the same in the Finals Series.
Jordan Mintah and Robert Lopez-Mendy have scored 27 goals for Kaya and will be a headache for Super Herrera and Carlie de Murga. Masa Omura and Alfred Osei will have to deal with the likes of Stephan Schrock and Maranon who have also combine to the same output as the Kaya strikers.
Finals Series format
Semifinalists will play in in two matches home and away where the team with the higher aggregate score continues to the one-game final. If both teams are tied on aggregate, the away goals rule will come into play. If both teams are still tied after the rule, the match will continue to extra time and to penalty shootouts if needed.
The match is scheduled at 4pm in the UMak pitch with tickets available at SM Tickets or at the venue gate. Field side seats are pegged at P20 while Grandstand tickets costs P300. The match will be available via livestream (https://mycujoo.tv/philippine-football-federation?id=11444) for the out of town fans.