Kaya FC Iloilo made history, thanks to a 1-0 victory against Davao Bellmare Aguilas FC to crown as the first-ever Copa Paulino Alcantara champion at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last October 27th.
Jovin Bedic delivered for the Iloilo-based squad during the 119th minute with his goal that was assisted by Robert Lopez Mendy to register the only goal in the match to snatch the championship and reserved a slot for AFC Cup next year, Kaya’s first appearance in the continental tilt since 2016.
“What a final,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida via Rappler .“What makes it special for this [final] – aside from we wanted to go to back AFC – is we were able to give honor to the legendary Paulino Alcantara [who] is from Concepcion, Iloilo and as [the] representative of Iloilo, this Cup really matters for us.”
Both teams attempted to score an in the early stages of the match with Kaya chances, first came from Miguel Tanton’s free kick in the 32nd minute but it was foiled by Davao’s goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.
Robert Lopez Mendy attempted to score in the 37th minute but his attempt was ruled as offside.
On the other hand, Davao had chances to register a goal, courtesy from an attempt from Kim Sungmin in the 49th minute but, his attempt was foiled. Since then, both teams became aggressive in attempting to score throughout the remaining minutes and in extra time but their attempts was put into waste due to errors.
Much worse for Davao, during the extra time, Wesley Dos Santos was issued with a yellow card, causing his ejection in the 98th minute, which spelled doom for the Davao-based team.
Davao Bellmare Aguilas FC can still qualify for the AFC Cup 2019 if Ceres-Negros FC survived the playoff stage of the 2019 AFC Champions League and advance to the group stage.
Azkals team manager sees the importance in winning AFF Suzuki Cup championship
With a few weeks away from the first major test of changes the management of the Philippine Azkals undergone, team manager Dan Palami saw the importance of winning the AFF Suzuki Cup trophy.
“For me, this is where it all started for the Azkals that’s why the importance of winning the Suzuki Cup is paramount,” said Palami in a news conference last October 30th quoted in an article of Tiebreaker Times.
Palami’s points were pertaining to the rich history of the team in the tournament, thanks to the Azkals impressive run in the Suzuki Cup in 2010, the popularity of the team and football rose, especially after the Azkals beats then- defending champion Vietnam with a score of 2-0 at the group stage, thanks to goals from Phil Younghusband and Chris Greatwich, sealing the Philippines first appearance in the semifinals.
In the following two editions of the tournament, the Azkals was able to reach the semifinals but in 2016, the team failed to advance after a winless campaign in the group stage.
With the appointment of former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and the training camps and tune-up tournament the team participated, the long-time Azkals backer and manager is hoping to capture the elusive crown.
It’s about time we show ourselves as champions of Southeast Asia. I think it is complementary that a good performance in the Suzuki Cup gives us momentum heading into the Asian Cup,” Palami quoted in the same article.
Palami also bared, after the appointment of Eriksson as the new Azkals head coach, several overseas-based players are showing interest to play under the Swede mentor.
“With his entry, I’ve had messages from more players who are interested playing for the team,” Palami said, quoted in an article of Spin.PH
“There were other Filipino players playing in higher divisions in Spain as well as South America. We will be looking at their documents and make a decision.”
The Azkals will begin their AFF Suzuki Cup campaign against Indonesia on November 13th at the Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City. The kickoff is at 7:30 PM.