Ceres-Negros and Stallion Laguna battled to an exciting 1-1 draw last September 28 at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna. Robert Lopez Mendu and Abou Sy found the back of the net in the tightly contested match.
The away squad found the back of the net early when Lopez Mendy headed in a cross from Sean Kane. Kane controlled his way into the box to confuse defenders before he released to the Senegalese forward who nodded in the opener.
The home team came back with a vengeance three minutes later when they released Sy on a counter which allowed the lanky striker to shoot past Muller to make it level.
Lopez Mendy was brought down inside the box in the 8th minute after he was clipped by a Stallion defender but referee Michael Barajas wanted none of it.
Stephan Schrock dazzled the flanks in the 14th minute before he set-up Lopez Mendy but the striker’s left footed volley went wide. The Negros side controlled the possession but the deep defensive positions of the home squad was tough to beat in the heat.
Stallion had their chance in the danger are in the 32nd but Fitch Arboleda’s attempt was challenged well by Takashi Odawara. The 38th minute saw two shots from the Busmen but they were both blocked inside the box.
Schrock had the best chance to put his squad ahead in the first half but his attempt from a quick free kick from Mike Ott hit the outside of the post,
Both teams had some chances near the break but the best one came from Super Herrera whose long distance attempt grazed the top of the crossbar.
The second half saw a heated battle in midfield as both teams tried to get ahead in the early going. Ceres-Negros had positioned themselves well in the early going but were unlucky with the whistle going the other way.
The Laguna squad carved through the Ceres-Negros defense with a chance in the 59th but Arboleda’s attempt went straight to Muller. They would get another one five minutes later but Najim’s try was way off target.
The defending champs had another glorious chance minute later when Schrock picked out Odawara in the box but the midfielder sliced his attempt after a fake in front of goal.
Schrock would again find a teammate in the 51st after beating a couple of defenders but Lopez Mendy’s attempt wasn’t strong enough allowing Gasic to collect the ball on the line.
Stallion pushed the tempo with twenty minutes left in the match led by Nate Alquiros who outran the defense but lost the ball to Muller after he switched off from his favored left foot inside the box.
Mike Ott had a decent chance just outside the box after he was teed off by Lopez Mendy in the 74th but the ball went straight to the keeper.
The home side had the best chance to get ahead as a lucky deflection bounced to the path of Arboleda for a volley but the wingers attempt went nowhere.
Laguna grew on the action with plenty of dangerous attempts in front of goal with the best one from Abou Sy who outran Super but was fouled in his shot with great positioning from Muller deflected it enough for a corner.
Ceres-Negros had their say in the dying minutes when a long free kick by Muller was headed into the center by James Younghusband. Ott tried to hit the top corner but the ball went past the target.
Lopez Mendy had the final chance but his volley of a Younghusband cross went straight into the keeper. The match would end as both teams shared the spoils in their final league meeting.
“It was a little bit the same as the last match. Its very hard to play in these weather conditions,” said Ceres-Negros Coach Risto Vidakovic. “The good thing is we survived. Everyone is good and no one is injured and thats the best that happened to us in the match.”
“We started good but with the equalizer and the weather, we had a hard time in finding solutions,” said Roland Muller who was adjudged as Man of the Match. “At the end of the day its 1-1 and we’re still unbeaten. Now were looking forward to Wednesday.”
Ceres-Negros improved to 50 points in the table are still in third with 33 points. The Busmen will need three wins from the last five games to officially clinch the 2019 PFL title.