Jordan Mintah hit a hat trick as Kaya FC-Iloilo crushed Lao Toyota FC, 5-1, to get back on the win column in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup on Tuesday at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Ghanian forward Mintah netted an early opener then struck twice in the second half, powering the Lions to a bounce-back victory following their 1-2 defeat to PSM Makassar last April 17.
“I’m so happy. The last four games have been so hard for me,” said the 23-year old Mintah.
Kaya Iloilo climbed to No. 2 in Group H anew with eight points on two wins and two draws against a lone loss.
“I’m so happy for my boys. That was hard work from start to finish. In general, we played really well,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida.
The Philippine runner-up, however, cannot finish as group winner as Makassar already locked up the top spot and secured its seat in the Asean zonal semifinals with a 3-2 win over Home United FC of Singapore.
Kaya could still make it to the knockout stage should it end up as the best runner-up among the three Asean groups.
The Lions need to win their final away fixture on May 14 against reigning regional champion Home United, which they demolished, 5-0, almost two months ago at the Panaad pitch.
Mintah drew first blood just 11 minutes into the match as the spitfire striker raced from the right wing then shot the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Outthilath Nammakhoth.
Kaya made it a two-goal lead in the 40th minute as Darryl Roberts centered Marwin Angeles corner ball to Connor Tacagni, who nodded it in.
Released by Tyler Matas’ forward pass, Mintah evaded the onrushing goalie and sent a looper to the net in the 66th.
Kazuo Honman pulled one back for also-ran Lao Toyota in the 70th but substitute Yannick Tuason restored Kaya’s three-goal advantage with an 86th minute low shot.
Mintah fittingly wrapped up the romp with his third goal off a rocket of a strike from outside the box in the final minute of regulation.