Originally published by CNN Philippines
United City FC was crowned champions of the 2022 Copa Paulino Alcantara after beating former titlist Kaya FC-Iloilo, 3-2, in the final on Sunday at the PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite.
United City headed to the second half with a 1-2 deficit against Kaya, but the Jason Withe-coached squad got some golden opportunities in the next minutes.
In the 51st minute, United City striker Mark Hartmann fired a long kick that went to the hands of Kaya goalkeeper Zach Banzon.
But the ball slipped from Banzon’s hands and ended up with Hikaru Minegishi, who was on the left side just near the line of the box and converted the long strike that equalized the match.
Mike Ott nailed the title-winning goal for United City in the 68th minute off a corner kick from Hartmann.
Kaya-Iloilo had some chances to tie the game in the last minutes of the match, but United City’s Anthony Pinthus showcased his goalkeeping skills and prevented further scoring attempts by the opposing team.
“We knew it will be a tough game against Kaya. The team who has a better (winning) mentality won, and that’s us,” said Pinthus, who was named as the Man of the Match.
United City opened the scoring line in the 11th minute with Kenshiro Daniels completing the running attack for the maiden goal.
Two minutes after Daniels’ goal, Kaya booter Robert Lopez Mendy delivered the game tying point as he slipped past defenders to unleash a strike at the right side of the post.
Jhan Jhan Melliza gave the lead to Kaya-Iloilo in the 31st minute after he was left wide open to score the long goal beyond the box.
“The circumstances were difficult for the team in the beginning and we grew together. It was not easy to lose every game in the (AFC) Champions League, it was not good for our confidence. But we knew when we come back here in the Philippines, we can get the confidence. Here we are, we are the champions,” Pinthus reflected on their feat.
Meanwhile, Stallion Laguna FC finished in third place in the 2022 Copa Paulino Alcantara after a 2-1 win against Dynamic Herb Cebu FC.
Jo Bedia nailed the game-winning goal for the Stallions in the 88th minute, which broke the 1-1 deadlock that was forced by Cebu striker Arda Cinkir in the 34th minute.