Kaya-Iloilo coach Graham Harvey couldn’t ask more with the effort his team put up after its AFC Champions League debut ended with a 4-1 defeat to BG Pathum United.
The Philippines Football League side was given a harsh lesson in its first foray in Asia’s biggest club competition as the Thai League 1 champions took control courtesy of two goals each from Teerasil Dangda and Diogo.
A late goal by Marwin Angeles, the first for a Filipino club in the ACL, gave Kaya something to smile about despite the disappointing outcome.
“I’m very proud of our side, our boys gave 100 percent,” said Harvey during the post-match press conference Saturday, June 26 at Leo Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand.
“They worked very hard, particularly when we were down to ten men. They did everything we asked of them before the game,” added Harvey, referring to the loss of Simone Rota to a straight red card early in the second half.
“I think for us now, we need to make sure we get up, stand up, and go again. But I’m very proud of how the boys worked for the 90 minutes. All of our squad that came on, the five substitutes, I think they made a real impact in the game.”
“We were already trailing and we were still hoping to hang in the game, but then the red card came and made it even more difficult for us. Still, I’m so proud of our boys and so proud of our club.”
Things are expected to be tougher for Kaya with Vietnamese champion Viettel and ACL titleholder Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea slated this week.
“Obviously, it’s not nice to lose and we’d rather not experience that for the next five games, but we’re also very glad to be here and learn from those experiences and make sure that we come back stronger,” said Harvey.