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Mintah hat trick lifts Kaya-Iloilo FC past Lao Toyota

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By Kevin Estrada

Jordan Mintah found the right time to explode as Kaya-Iloilo FC routed Lao Toyota, 5-1 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod to keep its hopes of entering the knockout stage of the AFC Cup alive.

Mintah’s hat trick gave the defending Copa Paulino Alcantara holders a fighting chance in Group H as they move to second momentarily with eight points, one ahead of Home United who are away at PSM Makassar as of this writing.

“If it is my time, everything is going to be okay,” the Ghanaian said after the match as he woke up from his slumber with his first goals of the campaign to end his four-match slump in the AFC Cup.

Thirteen days after they shockingly lost to the Indonesian outfit, Noel Marcaida willed his wards on their rebound mentality and put up a five-star performance ahead of their final match, a return fixture against the Singaporean side 15 days from now.

“It’s going to be a test of character. How we bounce back is very important,” he said after the match. “And from this result, we move forward and we prepare going into the last game.”

Marcaida had to tinker their squad that defeated Green Archers United in their PPL opener as Jovin Bedic and Jalsor Soriano suspended, with the former ceding the armband to Marwin Angeles as a consequence.

The team, however, welcomed back Camelo Taucualme back to squad after serving his suspension.

The changes instantly bore fruit just 11 minutes in, with Mintah converting off an Angeles long ball using his right foot to nutmeg Lao goalie Outthilath Nammakoth.

Chances are few and far between for Jun Fukuda, with the Japanese only bringing in sixteen players in the travellng squad, with matchday 1 hero Sayfa Aphideth the most notable absentee on the part of the Laotian champions.

Yet they gave the home side a slight fright after conceding their first, as Phoutdavy Phommasane nearly caught Louie Casas off his line but only had his effort went way over the bar on that speculative attempt.

Kaya were relentless as they did not let up on their drive to keep their hopes alive, as they dominated the possession and had a total of nine shots and six corners in the first half, including their penultimate one five mintues before time, with Connor Tacagni slotting the ball at the back of the net off a Darryl Roberts header to double their lead at the break.

At the hour mark Lao Toyota wasted two clear chances to halve the deficit, with Casas stopping Soma Otani and Rafael had his shot denid by the left post.

Six minutes later, Kaya made them pay.

Mintah got his brace when he put replacement keeper Soukthavy Soundala on all fours after hitting a tightly-angled shot into the empty net to make it 3-0.

Although Kazuo Homma pulled one back in the 70th minute, Kaya completed the massacre by firing a pair in the final two minutes to seal the win.

Yannick Tuason came on for Tacagni in the 83rd minute and only took 180 seconds to make it 4-0 for the hosts with his low shot.

Mintah put the final touches just before full time with a rocket past a beleaguered Soundala for the final count.

Kaya-Iloilo (4-4-2): Casas (GK), Matas (Villasenor 87′), Omura, Tacusalme, Angeles (C) (Amita 89′), Osei, Pasinabo, Felongco, Mintah, Tacagni (Tuason 83′), Roberts

Lao Toyota (4-5-1): Nammakhoth (GK) (Soundala (GK) 43′), Bounphithak (Inthavong 76′), Saison, Phommasane, Somsavath, Rafael, Otani, Homma (C), Amaro, Souksavanh, Phetphakdy