League champions Ceres-Negros FC leaned on consistent play to complete a 3-0 mastery of Mendiola FC last October 16, 2019. Takashi Odawara scored a goal while Bienvenido Maranon completed a brace.
With the championship in the bag, the guard of honor was laid iut to the 2019 champions at the start of the match. It didn’t take long for the busmen to get ahead as Takashi Odawara headed home on the 2nd minute.
The Japanese midfielder completed a lovely team goal from Jeffrey Christiaens corner that was headed back by Sean Kane to Odawara who made no mistake.
Mendiola had their first chance in the 6th minute with a free kick from Ricardo Sendra but the Argentine’s attempt bounced off the wall with his follow up collected by Roland Muller.
Robert Lopez Mendy cut the ball back to Miguel Tanton minutes later but his free effort in front of goal curled wide. Moments later, the Red and White squad unleashed a chance but it was foiled by the Ceres-Negros keeper.
Both teams struggled to put shots on target midway in the half but it was in the 35th when Ceres-Negros put the stamp on the match. Maranon slotted in a Lopez Mendy assist to make it 2-0.
Sendra almost got a header in the 44th minute but his chance was just wide of the post. A run by Christiens in the box was stopped by a Mendiola tackle but the referee allowed play to continue.
Action had to be stopped moments later as the designated team captain had to stretchered off and replaced due to a serious injury. The half finished with the two goal advantage for the home squad.
The second half was all Ceres-Negros as the busmen tried to pad on to the first half lead. Maranon’s floating header sailed over the crossbar while Lopez Mendy’s chip near the hour mark hit the woodwork.
The Ceres top scorers tried to do it again midway in the second half but Maranon’s low shot went just wide while Lopez Mendy’s attempt went straight to the keeper.
The 72nd minute saw twin attempts from Maranon that were blocked but the Spaniard was fouled after inside the box forcing the referee to point at the spot.
Maranon made no mistake as he tallied his 29th goal of the season and tying Kaya FC’s Jordan Mintah in the golden boot race. Things got testy in the remaining minutes with the final chance coming from Ceres-Negros.
Lopez Mendy’s attempt in the dying minutes went straight to Dini Ouattara. The full time whistle blew as Ceres continued its unbeaten run in the second to the last match of the league season.
“Like I said last week, it’s not easy to be unbeaten during the whole league,” said Risto Vidakovic. “I think it’s something historic and unusual but we have one more game still against a big opponent. But we are not obsessed with that. If it happens, it happens.”
Bienvinido Maranon earned Man of the match honors after his brace. The Busmen will play Kaya Iloilo on October 19 and will have the chance to complete the season undefeated.