The coaching staff of the Central Visayas Regional Football Association U19 team agreed to move the key match with Kaya FC to 10 a.m. from the original schedule of 3 p.m. thinking that it might give them the edge since the turf-trained Kaya FC players isn’t used to playing at 10 a.m.
But weather on the day of the match turned, from the usual strength-sapping Sunny day, it was overcast and it rained non-stop.
Still the home fans who braved the downpour were treated to quite a show as the CVFA U19 turned what was expected to be a close match into a one-way affair, scoring three in the first half alone.
Keenan Julian Cergneux needed only seven minutes to open the scoring as the hosts earned the benefits of years of experience playing at a drenched Cebu City Sports Center field. Needing only a draw to advance since it had a superior goal difference going into the match, Kaya managed to hold off the CVFA, even getting a lucky break when a puddle of water prevented the goal from coming in.
But in the 43rd, Yoji Selman made it 2-0 and before Kaya could regroup, Paul Mapula headed in a wonderful feed to make it 3-0 at the break.
Despite being three goals down, Kaya was still upbeat going into the second half and managed to harass the CVFA box. However, the drenched field acted as the 12th defender for the hosts, either stopping a nice pass from its intended recipient and allowing CVFA to intercept, or tripping down the intended receiver all together.
On the other hand, the Cebuano players whose part of their football experience is playing on a wet CCSC field, easily got to the Kaya box with lobs to Selman or Cergneux after their midfield, anchored on Richard Songalia firmly imposed control of their area.
Kaya’s morale got boosted in the second half after earning a penalty, which had the penalty kicker comically clearing the puddle of water from the spot before he attempted his shot. However, he forgot about the puddle of water in the goal post. Though keeper Mark Mayor, whose school team calls CCSC its home, dove correctly, the puddle of water clearly helped in stopping the penalty. Mayor failed to collect the ball though, leading to two follow-ups, he stopped the first but the second by Julian Romero went in.
The CVFA managed to launch a couple of attempts, with the best one from outside the box with the keeper beaten. However, thanks to the puddle of water, the ball slowed down and had a minor change of direction and went out of bounds. With the win, the CVFA advanced to the national finals with nine points on three wins, while Kaya finished second with six points.
Nosirfa, which lost to CVFA and Kaya, got third place after beating EVRFA, 3-0, with Christian Lajot (65th), Earl Bandoquillo (83rd) and Rafael Wandeler (88th) scoring the goals.
Meanwhile, Ramos said he will allow his team to take a few days rest before resuming training again for the national finals, projected to be hosted by Cebu again either late in July or early August.
Though he expected his boys to deliver because he told them they must win, Ramos said he never expected to be up 3-0 against the dangerous Kaya FC.
For more action shots of the game and of the tournament, please check Lokality’s FB page.