Ceres-Negros FC jump started their domestic debut after scoring a 1-0 win against their arch rivals Global Cebu FC in their opening home game of the Philippines Football League last June 3 at the Panaad Stadium. Jeffrey Christaens scored the winner in the 83rd minute after the home squads relentless barrage in the second half.
It was a tight first half with both teams shaking off fatigue after their tough midweek assignments in the AFC Cup. The visitors had the earliest chance in the 2nd minute when Shu Sasaki’s outside-the-foot try was wide. The home squad’s first attempt came from twenty-five yards from Kevin Ingreso 8th minute shot that went over the bar.
The 10th minute saw Bienvido Maranon issuing a through ball to Carli De Murga whose shot in a tight angle was off target. Misagh Bahadoran’s corner went to the second post but Roland Muller punched the ball out to safety. Ceres would continue their onslaught with multiple attempts that went wide. Maranon would get clipped in the 29th minute but Martin collects the loose ball before unleashing a cracker that hit the post.
Maranon was again dangerous a minute later after his shuffle inside the box results to a bottom corner shot that Patrick Deyto taps away. The Global keeper would save his team again two minutes later after when he saved a dangerous on-one-shot from Ramsay.
Global would have another dangerous chance when a through ball to Pika Minigeshi allowed the opposing winger to take a clean shot in front of goal that pushed Muller for a foot save. Amani Aguinaldo and Wesley Dos Santos would get their chances from set pieces but both shots weren’t enough to bother the Ceres keeper.
The Busmen would produce a fine team effort that led to Manny Ott shot but his try was off by a foot. The defending league champions were again dangerous in injury time with a Sasaki counterattack. The Japanese winger however wasted another chance to put his squad ahead. Both squads would finish halftime with 0-0 score.
The home squad would come out strong in the second half when a Maranon effort to the second post was again saved well by Deyto in the 48th minute. The ensuing corner trickled in front of Ott with the Ceres midfielder slicing wide of the post. Deyto would again save his team after blocking Iain Ramsay and Ott’s attempts.
The Cebu squad had the best chance to break the deadlock when a missed offside call allowed two global players to race in front of the Ceres goal. Minigeshi however failed to tame the ball for a tap in and shot way over the cross bar in the 61st.
Stephan Schrock made his PFL debut in the 63rd minute after replacing Omid Nazari on the pitch. He didn’t waste in making his presence felt ten minutes after when his shot from inside the box rattle the underside of the crossbar.
He would cement his impact in the match seven minutes from time when a well worked play from the wing saw him issuing a great cross for Christaens in the second post. The Ceres defender shot perfectly on to the opposite bottom corner, beating Deyto, and scoring the winner for Ceres.
“Its not easy to play these kind of games especially if you both played in Asian competition. I think my players today were true professionals and they gave a good result,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic.
Jeff Christaens deflected praise after scoring the lone goal of the match. “Of course its nice to score but the most important is the three points. Now I’m the lucky one who scored but we just have to get on with the next game,” added the Ceres wingback.
The PFL will be put on hold for two weeks because of the FIFA International break. Players such as Manny Ott and Kevin Ingreso will rejoin the National team in their Asian Cup Qualifying campaign with against Tajikistan in Dushanbe and a friendly in Guangzhou vs China. The Negros club will resume its league campaign when its plays JPV Marikina in an away match on June 17.
Photos from Stephen Tan and Jack Gallardo/Philippines Football league