Kaya-Iloilo bows to Shandong Taishan in AFC Champions League

Kaya-Iloilo vs Shandong Taishan in the AFC Champions League. –AFC PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Kaya-Iloilo absorbed a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chinese club Shandong Taishan on Tuesday at Rizal Memorial Stadium, spoiling the first-ever Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League match played in the country.

The Philippines Football League champions couldn’t sustain their form that kept the game scoreless as the visitors eventually took the lead on a penalty by Moises past the hour mark and a Mathues Pato’s empty-netter in the 71st minute.

Jarvey Gayoso’s goal in the 79th after beating goalkeeper Han Rongze gave Kaya a lifeline, but Crysan’s goal in stoppage time quashed any hopes of the home side salvaging a draw.

It was a disappointing setback for Kaya, back in the highest level of Asian club football after its maiden campaign in 2021 under a bubble setup in Thailand.

But Kaya has now lost all seven Champions League matches, and an elusive first point is expected to be a difficult one with Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and South Korea’s Incheon United also in Group G.

Kaya will travel to Incheon for its next ACL match on Oct. 4 at Sungui Arena Park.

More than 1,700 fans, half of which supporting the runner-up of last season’s Chinese Super League, came to watch the first of three consecutive continental club tournaments slated on home soil.

Stallion-Laguna battles Indonesia’s Bali United in Binan on Wednesday while Dynamic Herb-Cebu faces Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown at Rizal Memorial the next day for the opening matches of the AFC Cup.

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