KAYA sent a strong message to the leaders of the United Football League on Thursday night, rallying from a huge deficit to stun defending champion Global, 3-2, at the Emperador Stadium in Taguig.
Proving it remains a strong contender for the title, the fourth-running squad climbed from a two-goal hole early in the first half as it drew a brace from Nate Burkey and another goal from Massa Omura to increase its point total to 15 points.
“This squad’s got tremendous belief,” Kaya coach David Perkovic said. “Even when we were two-nil down, I was mentioning to the team that all we need was not to concede the rest of the half and to peg one back before halftime and that will give us the confidence to go on.”
Kaya dealt Global its first loss of the season as the reigning champion finished the first round with 22 points and in second place behind Stallion-Sta. Lucia (24 points).
Loyola Meralco, with 20 points, rounds out the top three squads.
“This is just a minor setback for them, probably good thing for Global so that they can refocus,” Perkovic said. “But for us, it’s great because we’ve pegged back some points off the leaders,” the Australian mentor added.
“Every week if we can do that, we get closer and closer to the top. Whether it’s too late to have those ambitions or not, I suppose we’ll see at the last game of the league.”
Eager to atone from a 1-1 draw against the Sparks last week, Global came out firing early against Kaya in a rematch of last season’s finale.
Patrick Reichelt scored early and fast, finding the back of the net six minutes into the game, before following up his first goal two minutes later.
But after Omura pulled a goal back for Kaya in the 18th minute, Burkey knotted the count nine minutes into the second half when he pounced on a weak back pass by Global’s Val Kama to substitute goalkeeper Ed Sacapano.
Kaya completed its monumental comeback when Burkey scored with a header off the rebound from an OJ Porteria missed free kick seven minutes before injury time.