Match reports from Tuesday's UFL Division 1 action at the Emperador Stadium in McKinley Hill. This was the first televised playdate on this ground.
Kaya 2, Green Archers United Globe 1.
The new Emperador Stadium has now hosted its first bench-clearing brawl.
Janrick Soriano's 98th minute strike gave Kaya its first win of the league in a rambunctious, ill-tempered, card-riddled affair.
OJ Porteria had put Kaya ahead in the 28th minute with a fine solo effort, dribbling through the Archers defense, and forcing keeper Martin Villaflor to slide early, freeing up room for his shot.
At the 90th minute United equalized in bizarre fashion when Kaya defender Junior Munoz cleared the ball straight into Tating Pasilan's thigh. It somehow ricocheted back high over the Iranian and into the net.
Pasilan gets credited for the goal.
But the real drama happened in the 65th minute when Archer Chieffy Caligdong fouled Kaya's Eddie Mallari. Another Kaya player approached Caligdong in a threatening manner and the Azkal warded him off with his forearm.
Things went south soon after, with players and coaches all congregating in a heated scrum at the center of the pitch.
Things seem to have cooled down when all of a sudden, Archers team manager Monchu Garcia approached the Kaya players and jawed with Sadeghi. Garcia then shockingly shoved Sadeghi in the chest, prompting retaliation from some Kaya players.
That caused Archer Longlong Cagayanan, who was on the bench, to race towards the Kaya players and lay a flying kick on Dario Dakic.
Meanwhile Archers Technical Director Hans Smit could be seen yelling at Kaya goalkeeper coach Melo Sabacan while being restrained by other Archers staff.
When the dust cleared, referee Roel Emnas meted out stiff punishment to both sides.
Kaya head coach Maor Rozen was tossed, as was Garcia, who shook Emnas' hand after being shown the red card.
Emnas displayed yellows to Kaya's Dario Dakic, Sadeghi, and Kross Ubiam, meaning Ubiam and Dakic have now accumulated two cautions in as many games. One more and they miss a match each.
For the Green Archers Caligdong and Agbayemi Olowoyeye saw yellow, while Cagayanan was naturally handed a straight red.
Kaya started with some surprises in their starting lineup. Youngster Enzo Pinga started up top alongside Porteria instead of usual target man Nate Burkey.
Meanwhile United did not start Tating Pasilan, who was carrying a knock from Saturday that prevented him from training on Sunday. He came on as a substitute just before the half. Dodong Villareal moved up from right back to play right wing while Tommy Escoltero made his first Archers start at the right flank of the back four.
Kaya pressed the Archers midfield all throughout, knocking United off their game and forcing them to try long speculative passes.
A well-organized Kaya back four prevented the Archers from utilizing their speed.
New signing Dan Ito started but was yanked in the 28th minute after having little influence in midfield. Sean Lee came on in his place.
Kaya made the best substitution of the day, introducing Soriano just before Pasilan's equalizer.
With eight minutes of stoppage time announced, Kaya pressed for a winner, with Porteria shooting weakly at Villaflor.
Then with time running out Toshiya Hosoe won the ball in the midfield and produced a glorious pass in the seam of the Archers defense that Soriano picked up. The Talisay, Negros Occidental native then eased it past Villaflor for the winner.
Kaya is now at three points after two games. In contrast, United is rooted at the bottom of the table, point-less after two losses.
OTHER NOTES: Monchu Garcia returned to the scorer's table after the game and graciously shook the hands of all the officials.... Chris Greatwich said that the narrow pitch (a full 8m narrower than a FIFA “A” International-sized field) helped his team. “They (Archers) had less space to operate”.... There was a dusty mist over the stadium, presumably from all the nearby construction. It seemed to give me a rhinitis attack. I experienced no such issue last Saturday, when I assume there was no construction.... The lighting of the stadium is still patchy and I am told the staff will continue to work on improving it.
Loyola Meralco Sparks 1, Pachanga-Diliman 0.
Freddy Gonzalez used to literally own Pachanga FC. On Tuesday, he "owned" them in the figurative sense.
The 34-year old offseason signing scored in the 23rd minute against the club he used to own and star for before he sold them to the Diliman FC owners.
A scrappy win by the Sparks places them atop the league with the maximum six points from two games.
Gonzalez got a step on the PD defense, streaked down the left flank of the box, found some space, and calmly powered the ball past Kim Versales for the only score of the game.
It was the only blemish for Versales, who shone with second half blocks on Jeong Byeong Yeol and Gonzalez.
Another player battling against a former club was PD's Anto Gonzales, who was loaned from Diliman to Meralco last season, then returned to the club, which absorbed Pachanga, this season.
Gonzales could have returned the favor in the 86th minute but his left footed long-range attempt sailed wide.
The Sparks were the slightly more adventurous side in a match that lacked few moments of quality apart from Gonzalez' goal.
PD's three midfielders, Boyet Canedo, Jason Cunliffe, and Gonzales were unable to win the battle in the center of the park.
Pachanga-Diliman did come alive in the last ten minutes with attempts from Yves Ashime, Cunliffe, Andrew Santiago, and Gonzales but none hit the mark.
PD is now midtable with three points from two matches.
James Younghusband did not dress for the match. Apparently he is still suffering from the hamstring injury that prevented him from playing the Azkals' friendly against Myanmar last week.
OTHER NOTES: I chatted with PFF president Nonong Araneta during the match. He said that the Barotac Nuevo plaza pitch will be resurfaced with Bermuda grass soon. He also mentioned that Thomas Roy, a German coach, will arrive soon to help in grassroots development. Araneta also divulged that they are hoping to create an Independence day tournament that will feature both the Azkals and the U23 SEA Games team. The SEA Games squad will also take part in this years' Peace Cup if plans push through. Still no word on who will lead the squad. Azkals coach Michael Weiss has already begged off.... Yo Casal from E-Sports RK International, who installed the pitch, told me that the infill, or rubber granules on the artificial Limonta Sport turf, will settle over the next three months. When that happens, more infill will be poured in.... Several hundred fans filled up the bleachers for both games, creating an excellent atmosphere.... Before the game Megaworld hosted a short opening ceremony with a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial first kick-off led by Jericho Go, Megaworld First Vice President.
Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333. Follow the UFL @uflphilippines.