By Kevin Sox
Kaya FC-Iloilo struggled to find rhythm on their home turf, faltering against Indonesian side PSM Makassar, 2-1 in the resumption of the AFC Cup 2019 group stages on Wednesday, April 17 at the Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod, Philippines.
It was the first loss for Kaya FC in four matches as they yielded the top spot in the Group H standings.
It was already a sizable gap for the South Sulawesian squad entering the intermission as midfielder Rizky Pellu and striker Eero Markkanen converted on two consecutive goals with just three minutes separating each made attempt.
That proved to be the cushion PSM Makassar needed to avenge their prior loss to Kaya. With the win, PSM moved up to the top spot in Group H with eight points. Kaya dropped to second spot with five points on a win, two draws, and a loss.
A good run from Wiljan Pluim enabled him to deliver an incredible assist to the unguarded Pellu, as the latter found the back of the net in the 21st minute for the opening goal.
Just moments later, it was Markkanen who rifled in another goal past Louie Casas as the visitors doubled the advantage.
Kaya was frustrated throughout the contest, and it concluded with Jalsor Soriano being sent off on a straight red card in the 88th minute after a kick on an opposing player who already fell on the pitch.
A foul by Hasyim Kipuw on Jordan Mintah in the 90th minute enabled the Philippine side to earn a penalty kick, which Jovan Bedic translated into a goal in injury time.
However, it proved to be just a little consolation as PSM Makassar already had it in the bag.