Despite losing to Shandong Taishan, head coach Colum Curtis believes Kaya FC-Iloilo is treating the AFC Champions League campaign not as a mere activity event.
“They’re disappointed and that’s a good thing,” the Irish mentor said following the 3-1 defeat dealt by Shandong at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex last Tuesday.
Despite not having former Premier League player Marouane Fellaini in Manila, Shandong did more than enough to secure the three points in Group G with goals from Moises Lima Magalhaes in the 63rd minute, Matheus Pato in the 71st minute and Crysan Barcelos in the 94th minute, to take home the win.
Jarvey Gayoso was the lone goalscorer for Kaya after a connection in the 79th minute, his first ACL goal in his career.
“They’re not just here to make up the group. We’re here to compete and try to win some games, I think we’re clear about that with their performance and their efforts,” Curtis said.
“Since I arrived six weeks ago, they trained well and followed the gameplan to the best of their abilities.”
Kaya still has five more matches in the ACL as they hope to be the first Filipino football club to reach the ACL knockout stages.
The Lions are also vying for their third Copa Paulino Alcantara as they have already qualified for the quarterfinals.
Gayoso said they want to apply what they have learned against Shandong when they play in their future tournaments in the Copa and the ACL.
“Despite the scoreline, I’m still proud of the boys. We fought in the field and we did what we prepared for. We will take every positive thing in the match,” Gayoso said.