Ceres-Negros FC banked on a Stephan Schröck wonder goal to edge Global Cebu FC 1-0 in the Philippines Football League last September 24 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
The home squad controlled the possession from the get go as the visitors sat back to prevent any incursion from the busmen. Ceres earned half chances early from Kevin Ingreso and Manny Ott but the midfielders had their shots off target.
Global had to make an early change in the 17th minute after Cebu skipper Misagh Bahadoran dislocated his shoulder after a bad fall from a challenge. Paolo Bugas came in to replace the veteran. The Negros squad would pile on the pressure but Wesley Dos Santos was steady for Global clearing a dangerous ball in a counter in the 23rd.
A ball would fall to Super Herrera’s lap in the box but a tackle by Dos Santos saw the Ceres defender tumble in the danger area. Referee Michael Barajas however saw nothing of it allowing play to continue. Ceres’ best chance in the half fell to Carlie De Murga but his header off an Ott corner was again over.
The Cebu squad had a golden opportunity to go ahead in the 36th minute with Darry Roberts crossing to an unmarked Paolo Salenga. The former NU player however scoffed his chance in front of goal as it went over the cross bar.
Omid Nazari latched on a Schrock through ball moments later but the Ceres forward fell down after a check by Dos Santos to the Ceres forward. Salenga would again get a glorious chance in the 39th after a slip from Jeffrey Christiaens allowed the Global attacker space for a wide open shot. He however shot a foot wide of the post to keep the game scoreless.
Global Cebu started the second half with vigor creating twin chances in the first five minutes. Hikaru Minegishi broke the Ceres defense in the 47th but his layoff to Paolo Bugas was wasted as the substitute was off target. The former FEU player would make up for it minutes later when he slid in between the Ceres defense to unleash a shot that was saved by Muller.
The Busmen had its first real chance in the 5oth minute when Ott strike to the top corner was punched out by Deyto. The Global keeper got busier as he punched out a bullet cross from Schröck a few minutes later. Christaens broke the offside trap moments later but Fernando Rodriguez didn’t have enough contact on the ball to make a challenge.
The visitors were again dangerous in the 70th minute after Salenga’s attempt was deflected out. The ensuing corner was cleared by the Ceres backline but Bugas recovered the ball before swinging it to the box with Dos Santos heading over.
Schrock issued a ball towards Rodriguez in the 74th but the Spaniard’s header was just over the bar. Rufo Sanchez created his own change two minutes later when he drove into the box before shooting towards goal. Muller was however there to save the danger.
It was in the 79th when Ceres took the lead after Schrock unleashed a screamer from twenty-five yards towards the keeper, beating the outstretch arms of Deyto. The home team could have doubled the lead after Schrock glided through the Global defense before teeing up to Rodriguez who was all alone in the far post. The Spaniard however missed the open goal as his left-footed shot was over the bar.
The visitors would try to get an equalizer in the dying minutes but the home defense stood firm denying the Cebu squad with a chance on goal. The referee would blow the final whistle with Ceres-Negros getting another 1-0 win at home.
Ceres improved to 32 points in the standings, two points behind Global but with 6 games at hand. The Busmen are still on track of the top four after collecting 10 points in a tough four-game stretch across two weeks. They will face Ilocos United in Panaad in September 30 for their final match before the international break.
All photos from Stephen Tan