Kedah Darul Aman from Malaysia secured the first three points after defeating Kaya FC-Iloilo from Philippines with a score of 4-1 in the AFC Cup 2022 group stage Group G in the AFC Cup 2022. at Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium, Gianyar, Bali.
With the two sides having lost their opening group games, both needed to win to maintain their chances of reaching the knockout rounds, with Kedah making two changes from the starting line-up that lost to Bali and Kaya making three from the team that were beaten by Visakha.
Kedah could have gone in front inside the opening minute when Azamuddin Akil found Ngah Wanja, who muscled his way towards the byline and cut the ball back for Syazwan Zainon, only for the captain to skew wide from eight yards when he should have done better.
Kaya suffered a blow on the 20-minute mark when key centre-back Carlyle Mitchell went off injured after receiving a knock to his ankle before Syazwan had another attempt on goal midway through the half when he received a short pass from Rodney Akwensivie and fired off target from just outside the area.
Robert Lopez Mendy lashed over for Kaya down the other end just moments later then Sandro Reyes drilled directly at Kedah goalkeeper Shahril Saa’ri as the half hour approached as the side from the Philippines started to gain the upper hand.
Eight minutes after the restart Lopez Mendy missed a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock after excellent build-up play from Reyes and Jesse Curran but, unmarked in the centre with the goal at his mercy, he miss-hit Curran’s cross completely as Kedah survived.
And Kaya were made to pay in the 57th minute when Kedah went in front. Azmeer Aris sent a lovely ball down the left for Ngah Wanja who burst into the box before playing across goal for substitute Zulkifli to tap into an empty net.
Six minutes later Aidil Sharin’s side went two up when Ngah Wanja again proved too strong for the Kaya defence, this time powering forward and teeing up Al Mardi to dance round the defenders and fire home from just inside the area.
Kaya missed another glaring opportunity in the 74th minute when good work again from Curran down the right saw him centre for Jovin Bedic, but the captain shot wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Malaysian side then made sure of the points with a little over eight minutes remaining as Ngah Wanja got on the scoresheet. Azmeer again found the Cameroonian, who dribbled past Vincent Diano and confidently dispatched into the bottom left corner.
Substitute Gayoso pulled one back for Kaya in the final five minutes but Zulkifli added a fourth for Kedah deep into stoppage time as he played through the goalkeeper’s legs to conclude an excellent night for his side.
Kedah will next face Visakha in a crunch tie on Thursday with top spot still within their grasp, while Kaya take on hosts Bali.
Credit Photo : AFC