Ceres-Negros FC fell to a 1-0 defeat to Global Cebu FC last July 5 at the Cebu City Sports Center. A first half strike from Matthew Hartman was the difference as the hosts returned the favor to the visitors in their home match.
The visitors were in control early producing different shots from the get go. A foul on Stephan Schrock outside the box allowed the Ceres midfielder to take a free kick which dipped wide. Moments later OJ Porteria took advantage of some spacr shooting well into the goal with Patrick Deyto tapping the ball wide and Jerry Barbaso clearing the ball. Global had a dangerous foray into the box but Super Herrera cleared a ball intended for Seykou Sylla. Both teams struggled to play their usual football which was played on very poor conditions.
Referee Clifford Daypuyat was allowing some extra physicality in the match which was highlighted by the sending off of Roland Muller and Sylla in the 11th minute. The Global striker jumped on the Ceres keeper who was clearing a backpass with Muller leaving a leg out after the kick. Michael Casas came in for Porteria to fill in the keeper spot four minutes later as Sylla was still refusing to stand after his sending off.
The Cebu squad had their best chance in the early going as Pika Minegeshi’s strike was blocked by Herrera in the last second. The Negros team almost led in the 21st as a cross from the wings met Schrock whose shot rattled off the near post. The Busmen had another marvelous chance when a long ball from Schrock was superbly volleyed by Iain Ramsay but Deyto was equal to the chance and came off with a good block.
With an open game, the two teams carved their own chances from distance and close range but it was Global who took the lead in the 42nd after a Hartmann ball in the box found its way to the top corner for the opening goal. The Busmen tried to equalize but Schrocks dangerous chance was saved by Deyto. The half would end with a 1-0 lead for the home squad.
Global Cebu came out of the second half with the eagerness to double the advantage. Twin chances from Minegishi and Shu Sasaki were blocked well by Casas and cleaned up by the Ceres defense. Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic was sent off in the 56th after complaining at the referees.
Ceres-Negros would make changes after the hour mark to chase an equalizer. Manny Ott came in for Junior Munoz while Bienvenido Maranon would replace Schrock. With fresh legs in tow, the visitors took control of the match, creating chances, with the home squad staying back to defend. Ott’s chance in the 79th minute was blocked well by the defense and Maranon’s try from twenty five yards was saved well by Deyto.
The Spanish midfielder would try to pick Deyto off in the 25th but his bottom corner shot was blocked by the keeper. Kevin Ingreso would recover the ball from the wings blasting the ball back in the box but Herrera would head the ball to the side netting. Maranon would again try from distance in the 88th but the Global keeper was there to collect. Eight minutes were added on into the match with Ceres trying to build up an equalizing goal but the Global defense held on till the final whistle to score a 1-0 win.
“I think in both teams there so many gifted and talented players. It you let us play on a pitch like this, this is the best we can do,” said Captain Martin Steuble when asked if the condition of the pitch played a factor in the game. “I think were building the PFL and letting us play on the on a pitch like this is not productive, its going against the flow. I think even the Global players are embarrassed to play on a pitch like so it definitely affected the performance. My opinion is the game shouldn’t be allowed on this pitch,” he added.
Ceres-Negros have played spectacular football the past few months with good passing and attacking play. The pitch however prevented the team from showcasing their game. Aside from injury concerns that may be caused by the pitch, Ceres Team Manager James Dinsay rued that the quality of football suffered because of the conditions. “We want to show Philippine football at its best and with this kind of football that you saw, you cannot see good flow because the pitch is impossible to play. We hope that we could fix it (the pitch) or we could first go back to Manila. We have to show our fans good quality football.”
Ceres-Negros dropped to fifth place with the loss as Kaya FC-Makati moved to the fourth spot after their win over Stallion Laguna. The Busmen will face Ilocos United on Saturday in Panaad in their first PFL encounter. The match will kickoff at 4PM and will be shown live over PTV.
File photo from Stephen Tan