UFL: Pachanga-Diliman beats Pasargad, Kaya coach Rozen resigns

Jose Andoni Santos. UNAUTHORIZED COMMERCIAL USE OF THIS IMAGE PUNISHABLE BY LAW. Copyright Bob Guerrero.

Pachanga Diliman 2, Pasargad 1.

With a solid come-from-behind victory on Saturday, Pachanga-Diliman are looking like a dark horse for this year's League.

Jose Andoni Santos equalized for PD seven minutes before the half, then in the 69th minute Ousseynou Diop put them ahead for good.

Pasargad had earlier gone ahead with a Jahambakhsh Taher penalty.

The triumph is the second of the season against one loss for PD. It's a tough defeat for Essie Sedigh's winless club.

PD were without the services of Guamanian Internationals Ian Mariano and Jason Cunliffe, who are both preparing with the Matao for upcoming AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers.

However Diop did return after an absence due to groin issues.

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Pasargad saw the return of Fil-Spanish left back Emil Muncada.

The game was a high-tempo affair all throughout with both teams getting early chances.

But in the 33rd minute PD's Yves Ashime was called for a handball in the box and Michael Barajas unhesitatingly pointed to the spot.

A minute later Taher nudged the ball into the low left corner past PD keeper Kim Versales for 1-0.

But PD retribution was swift. Merely four minutes later Ernest Appiah delivered a gorgeous long pass that Santos, who had found the gap in the PSG defense, controlled.

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The former UP Maroon Booter noticed PSG goalie Reza Ataei approaching him to narrow the angle and so he deftly floated it over him for the score.

In the second half PD coach Bob Salvacion brought on midfielder Boyet Cañedo and he made an instant impact with his clever passing. In the 63rd minute the West Negrense nearly scored with a free kick.

Another free kick, six minutes later proved to be PD's breakthrough.

Cañedo rattled the crossbar from the free kick, and the rebound fell to Diop. The young Senegalese drove it in for the go-ahead score.

Hamid Hajimedi nearly leveled six minutes later but his shot from distance was just inches above the bar.

Minutes later Ataei was stretchered off after snuffing out another PD attack. Cebuano Josh Cruz from DLSU was pressed into service in his place.

Emmanual Mbata nearly equalized in the 84th but Versales made a terrific point-blank stop.

Versales was also well positioned for Taher's injury-time free kick.

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PD is now solo fourth in the standings while PSG, with three losses and a minus-seven goal differential, is holding up the table.
Bob Salvacion got a great shift from Joven Bedic, who made some useful passes in the game and was wide on a couple of shots on goal.

PD manager John Gutierrez was delighted with the win and said “we held the midfield well without Cunliffe.”

OTHER NOTES: Ataei looks very seriously hurt. I was told by a member of the PSG team that it may be a hamstring tear. Ten minutes after the whistle he could be seen lying on the ground in pain, with his left thigh wrapped. But Cruz, who was Patrick Deyto's backup with DLSU, is a promising talent who played for a half in last year's league after an injury to Mohammed Golkah.... Cañedo did not start because he missed Friday's practice.... Mohammed Jahanarai of Pachanga-Diliman played against his old club.... Angelo Verheye Marasigan was brought on late by Sedigh but was unable to make a big impact.... Ex-PSG player Mehdi Soltani was at the game and said that PSG striker Masoud Shedideh, who is estranged from the team management, flew in last week but was not allowed to enter the country and flew back to Iran on the next available flight.

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Kaya coach Maor Rozen resigns.

Kaya will need to search for their fourth coach in less than a year after Uruguyan-Spaniard Maor Rozen quit hours after practicing with the team on Saturday.

Wrote Kaya boss Santi Araneta on Twitter: “Maor Rozen has officially tendered his resignation as coach of Kaya FC. We're grateful for his contributions to the club and we wish him well.”

Rozen leaves with a 3-1-2 won-draw-loss record from the Smart PFF championship and the UFL league.

During last year's League Juan Cutillas quit and was replaced by Kale Alvarez, who stepped down after the UFL Cup.

Kaya regulars Saba Sadeghi and Alu Kigbu were at the Empy and praised Rozen, who they said was meticulous and thorough in planning practices.

Sadeghi even said that Maor would show up at some practices four hours early.

Recently it was reported that another Kaya vet, Jonah Romero, was apparently removed by Rozen because he wanted to play for Guam in the Challenge Cup qualifiers.

And it was reported that there was an argument between Rozen and another unnamed Kaya player in Saturday morning's practice, which could have exacerbated the situation.

Kigbu and Sadeghi both say that the timing of the resignation is unfortunate, since Stallion and Loyola loom in the schedule for Kaya.

According to Sadeghi, there is only one other assistant on the Kaya team, and that is goalie coach Melo Sabacan.

Sunday's practice was canceled and instead there will be a team meeting, perhaps to discuss a new coach. Kaya plays Stallion on Tuesday.

Follow Bob on Twitter @bhobg333.

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