By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

KEY POINT. Teammates celebrate with Leaford Allen (No. 15), who scored the go-ahead goal for Dynamic Herb Cebu just before halftime of their Philippines Football League match against Kaya-Iloilo at Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City on Sunday (Feb. 19, 2023). The visiting Cebu club won, 3-2, and snapped Kaya-Iloilo’s four-match victory streak. (Courtesy of PFL)

MANILA – Dynamic Herb Cebu quickly made the Philippines Football League (PFL) championship race more interesting after stunning Kaya-Iloilo on the road, 3-2, in the first match of the second half of the season at the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City on Sunday.

Despite losing opening goal-scorer Daniel Gadia at halftime due to a red card, Cebu brought out the silencer before 1,100 fans cheering for Kaya-Iloilo as the road team narrowed the gap in the title chase.

Dynamic Herb thus snapped Kaya-Iloilo’s four-match victory streak and was the same club that dealt the home team its last defeat prior to the win run.

Gadia headed in the first goal of the match in the 24th minute after receiving Mert Altinoz’s corner kick.

Daizo Horikoshi, however, sent his club’s fans into a frenzy in the 35th minute as he scored a left flank free kick to tie the match at one goal apiece.

Both clubs went down to 10 players each as Gadia and Simone Rota were sent off for instigating a commotion just before halftime.

But come the final attack of the first half, Nano Amita blundered a back pass intended for Audie Menzi, and Leaford Allen quickly intercepted the ball and struck the ball to the goal to put Cebu back up, 2-1.

Jacob Liao scored what would eventually be the dagger goal for Cebu in the 54th minute after scoring on a header off JB Borlongan’s free kick.

Horikoshi kept Kaya Iloilo in the match after beating Cebu’s backline and hitting a close-range goal in the 61st minute.

Kaya-Iloilo had numerous chances to tie the match but could not convert, allowing Cebu to escape with the win.

Now officially in second place following United Clark’s decision to back out of the competition due to financial woes, Cebu with 24 points is six points behind Kaya-Iloilo (30) for the top spot with two matches at hand. (PNA)