Jhan-Jhan Melliza and Stallion-Laguna put a dent on Kaya-Iloilo’s title ambitions after a 1-1 draw Tuesday night in the Philippines Football League at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
Melliza produced the equalizer in the 80th minute off a good team play created by substitutes Toto Bedia and Ricky Sendra as the Horsemen produced their first point of the compact season while forcing Kaya to drop points after a pair of 1-0 victories against Maharlika-Manila and Azkals Development Team.
Stallion also had a redemption of sorts after conceding twice in the second half that resulted in a shock 2-1 defeat to Maharlika three days ago.
“I hope na ‘yung nangyari sa amin against Maharlika maging lesson na hindi pala pwedeng maglaro with their idea inside the field,” said Stallion assistant coach Richard Leyble, whose team kept a slim chance of staying in the title picture with three matches remaining.
Bedia’s pass to the left side allowed Sendra to set up a cross for Melliza, who fired a low volley to the far post that stunned Kaya goalkeeper Michael Casas as Stallion tied things up with 10 minutes to go before stoppage time.
The goal by the diminutive Melliza cancelled Jovic Bedic’s opener in the 10th off Kenshiro Daniels’ left cross.
But the failure to add a second goal hounded Kaya anew, and it finally paid them a price with Melliza’s late equalizer.
Kaya, handled by Japanese coach Yu Hoshide, is still in the hunt for the title with seven points, but the draw could be costly if United City FC can continue its form.
United City, which also won its first two games, was playing Maharlika as of posting time with a chance to tighten its grip on top spot.