Ceres-Negros extended their run after scoring a hard earned 2-0 win over the Davao Aguilas last July 22 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. OJ Porteria and Stephan Schrock score a goal apiece to lift the home squad to the victory.
It wasn’t an easy match for the Negros squad as the Aguilas were a tough nut to crack with their highly defensive approach which at times had nine men behind the ball. Ceres almost scored in the 19th minute when Schrock blasted a left footer from inside the box which rattled the crossbar. The home side broke the ice in the 27th when Porteria struck a beauty from the edge of the box beating Marko Trkulja to make it 1-0. The Ceres winger, who battled food poisoning before the match, created space off a rebound before issuing an inch perfect strike to the top corner.
Schrock had a golden chance to make it 2-0 but his attempt bounced of the insides of the two goalposts before being rebounded by Junior Munoz. The Ceres defender’s attempt was cleared off the line by an Aguilas player to maintain the one-goal cushion. The Busmen tried to unlock the Aguilas defense but the visitors held on for the 1-0 scoreline at halftime.
The second half also saw the same approach from the visitors with Ceres being patient in finding an opening in the well drilled defense. Schrock eventually found some space and scored in the 57th minute. The former german league veteran evaded two defenders before picking out Trkulja for the 2-0 lead.
With the two-goal cushion established, Davao began to push for more counterattacks. Debutante Matthew Hartmann had the best chance in the 75th minute after his strike from the wings was covered well by Roland Muller. Ceres would have its chance a minute later when substitute Bienvenido Maranon headed in off a corner with his shot blocked by the keeper. Manny Ott would also have his chance moments later but his shot went straight to Trkulja. Both teams would earn half chances in the remaining minutes but the game finished 2-0 in favor of Ceres.
“It was the hardest game that we had here at home so congrats to the opponent, they defended really good (and are) well organized,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic. “Also congrats to my players they insisted ninety minutes and they had patience. Its not easy to play when one team is defending with ten players in front of the goal, especially when they know how to defend and they defend very good,” he added.
The Spanish mentor was in full praises for his squad who handled the game properly given the opponents approach to the match. “One more time, I would like to congratulate my players, they gave everything, they played very good. Especially because we have one more game after that, they must focused on this game and they worked very professional.”
Man of the Match Stephan Schrock the choed his coaches sentiments. “Like coach said its hard to find space to find good movement when theyre sitting deep like this whith ten players defending in front of the box and not moving out even after the 2-0 lead. For us, Fernando, myself, Iain, and OJ, it was a difficult game but we overcame that. We scored twice which I think is okay and we won,” said Schrock.
The Ceres attacker was a bit tentative before the match considering the big AFC Cup challenge the team has in the bext few weeks. “We have a very big game ahead and davao comes. We were a little bit scared here and there and we lacked concentration but like coach said we took it very professional, very disciplined, and were patient enough. A 2-0 result is a good result for us,” Schrock added.
Ceres-Negros maintained their unbeaten run at home to ten games and jumped to third spot in the standings. The Busmen scored their third straight win in the Philippines Football League before embarking for the ASEAN Zonal Finals of the AFC Cup. They will face Singapore’s Home United in the first leg on August 2 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the city state.