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Kaya falters in Malaysia

Kaya absorbed the same fate as fellow United Football League side Ceres-La Salle after being pummeled, 7-2, by defending champion Johor Darul Ta’zim in their round of 16 match on Wednesday to bow out of the AFC Cup at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The Manila-based booters absorbed the brunt of JDT’s might in the first half when they conceded four goals before suffering more punishment after the restart to end their maiden campaign in Asia’s second-tier club competition.

Argentinian Juan Martin Lucero had a field day for JDT by scoring a hat trick while Malaysian Azzamudin Akil struck twice, all in the first half, to help the back-to-back title-seeking side progress in the quarterfinals.

OJ Porteria and Antonio Ugarte scored for Kaya in the 54th and 89th minutes, the only bright spots for the 2015 UFL Cup champions in the match that came after qualifying the knockout stage by finishing second in Group F.

“It was a very good experience against the defending champions. Some of us were new in facing big crowds away, especially when we were up against the quality of the champions. We tried our best, but our best was not good enough in the game of tactics,” said Kaya coach Joel Villarino.

Kaya’s exit ended what was two days of frustration for the Philippines in its maiden foray in the tournament’s knockout stage.

Ceres, despite a home field advantage, was eliminated on Tuesday after losing 1-0 in extra time to Hong Kong’s South China.