Kaya FC-Iloilo, PSM Makassar race for top spot in Group H

Kaya FC-Iloilo of the Philippines is gunning for a second victory at home, as they face Indonesia’s PSM Makassar in Group H of the AFC Cup 2019 at the Panaad Park and Stadium here, on Wednesday afternoon.

Head coach Noel Marcaida said another win is important for them to keep the lead and proceed to the next round.

“It’s a crucial game. The team that will get the maximum points will stay on top of the table (and) start the second round,” said Marcaida in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

Both teams came from a 1-1 draw in the visitors’ home turf at the Pakansari Stadium in Bogor, Indonesia last April 2.

In Group H, Kaya FC-Iloilo, the 2018 Copa Paulino Alcantara champion, and PSM Makassar, the Liga 1 runner-up, are tied with five points, with the Filipino club slightly ahead on goal difference.

“(The) game will be interesting. They have fast players on the wings. They are very physical, they’re very aggressive,” said Marcaida, who is banking on a home-court advantage to get through.

“Playing in Panaad is our advantage. It’s our home away from home. It’s going to be an advantage in the sense that we’re used to playing at 3 p.m.,” he said.

In their first home game, Kaya FC-Iloilo ripped reigning ASEAN Zone champions, Home United of Singapore, 5-0, after playing in the afternoon heat last March 13.

Goalkeeper Michael Casas said the team works hard in their daily trainings to prepare for the attacks and the set pieces of PSM Makassar.

“We’re expecting (them) to attack more. As coach said, they’re dangerous in set pieces,” he said.

PSM Makassar head coach Darije Kalezic said both teams have the same strengths and he expects a tough match ahead.

“We have to be sharp in the last moments of the game, until the game is finished,” said Kalezic, looking back to the late goal of Marwin Angeles that forced them to settle for a draw with Kaya FC.

Midfielder Rizky Pellu said their team is ready for the important match.

“All players are ready. We will work hard for the team,” he said. (PNA)

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