Ceres-Negros FC produced its 12th straight victory in the Philippines Football League after a 4-1 conquest of Mendiola FC last August 21 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa Batanga
Braces from Mike Ott and Robert Lopez Mendy and a man of the match performance from Stephan Schrock was enough to keep the PFL newbies at bay.
Chances came early for both squads as Dylan De Bruycker’s attempt in the 2nd minute was palmed over while Ashley Flores’ strike was straight to Jun Badeloc.
It was only in the 17th minute when Ceres-Negros broke the ice after Mike Ott slammed in a rebound after an initial cross from Maranon was blocked.
Flores had the golden chance to equalize minutes later but Badelic gets the best of him on the one-on-one. Angeles tried to rebound but he shot wide of the open goal.
Schrock had a good chance just moments later but Dini Outaraa covered well. Lopez Mendy made it 2-0 five minutes later after he broke free in the wings and lifted the ball past the keeper and into the top corner.
Mendiola pushed the tempo near the hour mark but inaccurate shots and good defending from the busmen prevented the hosts from scoring. They finally broke into the score sheet after Angeles outran his marker and rifled home the goal.
Ceres-Negros had plenty of shots near the end of the half but simply couldn’t convert. Lopez Mendy had two shots in front of goal but he cant get the right touch while a Bienvenido Maranon shot was miraculously saved by the keeper including a follow up from De Murga.
Lopez Mendy made up for his previous misses and shot to the far post in the 41st minute to restore the two-goal advantage. Ceres-Negros finished the half with a 3-1 scoreline.
The Busmen continued their onslaught in the second half when Miguel Tanton set Mendy for a one-on-one but the keeper came out with a fine save.
Mendiola had a fine set piece for Ricky Sendra but his header was well wide. Schrock burst into the box and was clipped but referee Clifford Daypuyat waved it off.
Twin chances came for Mendiola as Flores freed himself for a left footed shot but the ball curled over the top corner. He sprinted past his marker a minute later but couldn’t finish to the far post.
Ceres-Negros delivered the final nail in the coffin in the 61st after a fine pass from De Bruycker was brilliantly finished by Ott to make it 4-1.
Mendiola had consecutive chances from Hamed Hadjemadi and Sendra but both were kept out by Badelic. Schrock initiated a brilliant breakaway in the 73rd and tried to chip the keeper but the ball just skipped past the second post.
Maranon teed up Lopez Mendy who faked a defender before the shot but the keeper was positioned well for the save. The Negros came up with multiple chances after but were all saved by Ouatarra.
Robert Corsame came up with a counter for Mendiola but his eventual shot was straight to Badelic. Ceres-Negros almost had a fifth two minutes from time when Lopez Mendy headed in a Schrock cross.
The ball seemed to have cross the line but the referees did not budge after Ouatarra manage to palm it back to the playing field.
Both teams would each get a long distance shot in the dying minutes but Ceres-Negros finished the match with a three goal cushion.
“It’s always hard to play Mendiola because they give everything against us,” said Coach Risto Vidakovic. “Everyone is improving, not like in the beginning, because every club now is not easy to beat especially on this pitch.”
The Ceres-Negros Coach thought the quality of the pitch was not favorable to his team’s style of play but still commended his players for the result. “The boys gave everything today and they deserved the win,” Vidakovic added.
Stephan Schrock earned the man of the match of the award after his consistent play on both halves. The Ceres-Negros star who also celebrated his 33rd birthday was quick to shrug off the award but emphasized on the teams true goal.
“Its not about being man of the match nor about my birthday its a bout winning the league and we did another big step towards the trophy. We can be very proud of that,” said the Ceres-Negros star.
The Busmen will play against Global Cebu on on August 28 and like Schrock, Vidakovic is also looking at the next match at hand.
“We are going step by step game by game so the next game is Global so we have to prepare for them. They are also improving a lot so they’re not the same team as before,” Vidakovic added.
Photos from Philippines Football League