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Kaya-Iloilo guns for solo lead in Makassar

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By Kevin Estrada

The pole position in group H is up for grabs today in Bogor with Kaya-Iloilo face its first real test away at PSM Makassar as the 2019 AFC Cup resume play this week.

With both clubs level on points after their first two matches, the visitors are ahead on goal difference yet they could not let their guard down against the Indonesian side whose real home is in South Sulawesi, more than 2,000 kilometers away from Pakansari.

Hence, both teams will also test their mettle fitness-wise due to the long trip to the city west of Jakarta.

Manager Noel Marcaida hopes that a long layoff since their five-star blanking of Singapore’s Home United will not deter their drive to take all three points.

“I think we all know the importance of tomorrow’s game. The result will determine who will be top of the group after the first round of matches. It’s been a long wait for this game — 20 days. We’re excited and looking forward to it.”

The Copa Alcantara holders also know that their star-studded opponents, as well as the history of the hosts gave them more motivation in this tie.

“We’re ready to accept that challenge,” he added, noting that Makassar had Eero Markkanen on their ranks, with the older brother of a certain Chicago Bull Lauri found the net in a 7-3 rout of Lao Toyota in their most recent AFC Cup tie.

Midfielder Marwin Angeles was optimistic on this tie, as they have to stick to their plan.

“We know already what to do, so we just need to do our job and try to win the game and bring more confidence for the next matches,” he said.

Fireworks will be a major theme in today’s tie as both clubs recorded routs on matchday two, and PSM boss Darije Kalezic was all praises for the visitors who recorded the rout of the ASEAN Zone titlists.

“They are a good, organized team. They keep the space very small when their opponent has ball possession. They make it difficult for their opponents to play within the lines. They are dangerous on the counter attack. We have to be wary of their striker. That they won 5-0 against Home United is not relevant information. We won against seven goals against Lao and we really should’ve scored 20.”