Alejandro Ayala carries Kelly into city championship game

SHARE Alejandro Ayala carries Kelly into city championship game

Kelly enjoys playing from behind.

“The worst thing the other team does is score on us because that only gets us going and our adrenaline going,” junior midfielder Alejandro Cervantes said.

In a showdown of the last two city champions, Kelly senior forward Alejandro Ayala played the hero twice and propelled the Trojans into the city championship final.

He smashed in a header in the 78th minute to force extra time and then delivered the game-winner in the penalty kick shootout for the Trojans’ 4-3 victory over Lake View in a Public League city semifinal at Lane Tuesday night.

Kelly (15-4-1) advances to its third city championship in the last five years Thursday at North Park.

Kelly captured the shootout phase 4-2. Cervantes, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Luz Castenada converted for the Trojans, setting up Ayala’s game-winner. Junior goalkeeper Victor Montoya made a superb diving block of the Wildcats’ third shooter.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the first penalty kick or the last one,” Ayala said. “Breathe, keep calm and know you’re going to make it. I knew I was going to relax, so there was no pressure.”

Kelly overcame a 3-1 deficit after the Wildcats’ Alex Marfo drilled a short ball in the box in the 42nd minute. Lake View star senior forward Jeff Boateng scored twice in the first half to stake the Wildcats (8-4-2) to a 2-1 lead at the break.

“We were down, but we were emotional and gave it our all,” Ayala said. “We never gave up.”

Senior foward Ricardo Vega registered two goals for the Trojans to help power the comeback. His second goal, in the 48th minute, shifted the momentum to the Trojans.

“We just needed a goal to get our hopes up,” Ayala said.

Kelly dominated possession time in the second half. Coming off a four-goal performance against Steinmetz in the quarterfinals, Boateng stayed hot. His left-footed blast from a pass by Christian Crespo in the 35th minute marked his 22nd goal of the year.

“What a team, Lake View,” Kelly coach Stan Mieutus said. “They played like champions, but the credit goes to our kids. The spotlight is on them, and they came through.”

Boateng said the team’s strategy changed after the 3-1 lead.

“When we got that third goal, our mindset was to defend and not let them get the ball behind us,” he said. “That was a mistake, because I dropped back and played defense, and we gave up possession.”

Lake View maintained its lead until 2:30 of regulation. Junior Kelly forward Martin Villegas rove down the right edge and crossed the ball.

“It hit Alejandro Cervantes in the shoulder, and then I got the header,” Ayala said.

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