Joven Bedic struck deep into extra time as Kaya FC-Iloilo outlasted Davao Aguilas Bellmare FC, 1-0 to win the inaugural Copa Paulino Alcantara title last night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The Barotac Nuevo forward delivered the lone goal of the final at the 118th minute to give Kaya their first major title since winning the 2015 UFL Cup and a slot in next year’s AFC Cup.
From the opening proceedings, yellow-clad Kaya dictated the match as they held possession and created chances from precise passing while Davao was content on defending and waiting for opportunities to counter-attack. Chances in the first moments of the match were few and far between, with the first real opportunity created by Kaya when Robert Lopez Mendy headed the ball from Connor Tacagni’s cross over the bar in the 14th minute.
Kaya continued to terrorize the Aguilas with swift attacking intent with chances from every angle possible. Davao’s first chance came from a scuffle on a corner took by defender Matthew Hartmann in the 25th minute. The ball ricochetd onto the clashing heads inside the box before it looped and hit the crossbar before it was cleared by the Kaya defense. Lopez Mendy missed two more opportunities for Kaya, when he missed inches wide of the far post in the 35th minute after getting to the rebound off Davao goalkeeper Patrick Deyto’s save on Miguel Tanton’s free kick from the right flank.He missed again in the 38th minute with a header off another Tanton free kick.
The Aguilas had a chance of their own, with their Korean forward Kim Sungmin missing Hartmann’s inviting cross 28th minutes in. Both teams opened up more come the second half, with more shots being taken and both goalkeepers called more to work. Deyto saved Bedic’s shot at the opening minute of the half while Kaya goalkeeper Ace Villanueva parried Kim’s chance to the other side. James Younghusband produced two chances for the Aguilas; first is a 51th minute opportunity on front of goal from a Kim cross but went wide to his disbelief and a header in the 56th minute which went straight to the hands of Villanueva.
The match went into a lull in the middle, but action picked up again soon as Kaya went knocking again on Davao’s defense but was unsuccessful with their attempts, including two missed breakaway attempts on goal from Lopez Mendy and Jalsor Soriano’s 40-yard chip that beat Deyto but hit the crossbar. Substitute Daniel Gadia took the final opportunity for Davao to steal the match in the final minutes of normal time against the run of play, but his shot from fellow substitute Tahj Minniecon’s layoff in the 89th minute blasted above the goal.
As the match went into extra time, Kaya proved to be the more aggressive side on offense while Davao intensified its effort to deny any opportunity. However, the Aguilas’ chances took a hit after defender Wesley Dos Santos was sent off in the 98th minute after getting his second yellow card due to tripping Connor Tacagni’s spirited run in the midfield. Tanton hit the post from a direct free kick in the 101st minute while Kaya substitute Arnel Amita’s shot from outside of the penalty area went straight at the hands of Deyto.
Kaya immediately intensified its attack in the second part of extra time, with defender Alfred Osei’s stinging shot was blocked by Marco Casambre in the opening minute. Lopez Mendy got the rebound and fired away but hit the post and Amita got the second rebound and tried himself but found his chance wide of the mark. Davao found a couple of chances of goal in succession midway the final 15 minutes as Villanueva was called into action to save Minniecon’s shot aimed at the low corner of goal and J. Younghusband’s header. The match seemed to be heading into penalties until Kaya produced their moment of magic in the last two minutes of extra time. A pass from midfield spotted a racing Lopez Mendy in the right flank and crossed it into the middle of goal, where Bedic met it in full speed and converted it beating Casambre and Deyto and sent the Kaya fans in the stadium into total delirium. Bedic’s goal seemed to be the killer blow for the Aguilas, who failed to find a quick equalizer in added time and handed the Ilonggos a historic win.