New signing Sekou Sylla bagged a brace as Global Cebu toppled 10-man Kaya Makati, 3-1, last Wednesday night to climb to second in the Philippines Football League at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Signed from Myanmar side Magwe last month, the Guinean striker struck in each half after Dennis Villanueva opened the scoring for the Cebu side, which hiked its tally to seven points from three matches.
A 54th minute penalty by Robert Lopez Mendy kept the game in the balance for most of the second half until Sylla rounded out Kaya goalkeeper Zach Banzon a minute before time for the insurance goal.
Global coach Marjo Allado was delighted to see Sylla finally find the back of the net after sub-par performances in their first two outings.
“It’s Sylla’s third game for us and its our job to unlock his scoring chances,” said Allado. “It’s better he scored early in the first half. For us, we’re happy that he finally scored but I hope he gets the habit of scoring in the league.”
Allado said the focus will be on rest and recovery after Global played its third match in eight days. Global is also set to travel to Singapore on Sunday for the second leg of the AFC Cup Asean zonal semifinals.
“They need recovery,” said Allado. “We have a tight schedule. I can see the fatigue on some of the players.”
Global missed top attacker Pika Minegishi due to a minor injury, but the Cebu side got off to a perfect when Villanueva scored on an angled header in the 4th minute, before Sylla doubled the lead 12 minutes later with another pinpoint header.
But just when it looked like Global was cruising, defender Wesley Dos Santos was whistled for handball inside the box in the 53rd minute, leading to Mendy’s penalty conversion.
Global goalkeeper Patrick Deyto had to be alert to keep out Joven Bedic’s stinging drive in the 57th minute. On the other end, Matthew Hartmann sent an effort off target after he was left unmarked off a corner from Misagh Bahadoran.
Kaya was reduced to 10 men in the 76th minute when Jalsor Soriano was sent off for a rough challenge on Shu Sasaki.
But Sylla made no mistake in the 89th minute. With Kaya pushing more men forward, Sylla found himself on a breakaway against Banzon and the Global striker cooly rounded out the Kaya stopper for his side’s third goal.
Kaya remained in third with four points from three matches.
“Both teams played well throughout, but we took advantage with the two goals in the first half,” said Allado. “The course of the game changed when the penalty was given. We were a bit lucky in the second half.”