Kaya FC banked on the prowess of its homegrown talent in pulling off a 2-0 win over Shan United FC in the group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup late Wednesday at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.
Skipper Joven Bedic and substitute Eric Giganto caught fire, towing the Iloilo-based squad to victory over the gritty Burmese squad.
Bedic hit a goal in the 74th minute while Giganto found the net in the 85th for Kaya FC, which is looking to get past the shadow of its rival and fellow AFC Cup contender in Ceres Negros FC.
Kaya FC head coach Oliver Colina said the win was a testament of to their hard work and patience.
“We struggled a bit in the first half, but we worked hard to turn things around in the second half,” Colina said, whose wards registered three points in the leaderboard.
“We got what we came for. It doesn’t matter if it’s two-nil, one-nil or whatever. The important thing is that we got three points and that’s the reason why we’re here.”
Bedic agrees, saying that the Burmese squad really tested their patience and pushed them to the limit.
“Maybe the difficulty from the heat was a factor, and it was hot and hard to play in the first half. But we were determined to win this game and make the Filipinos proud,” Bedic, a product of the country’s football capital in Barotac Nuevo, said.
“We just really worked hard in our training and we were tasked to execute the game plan to get the win here. We will just take it step-by-step, one game at a time. We just need to show what we have trained for.”
Kaya FC will face Tampine Rovers of Singapore, armed with the homecourt advantage at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on 26 February.