Ceres-Negros FC shrugged off fatigue to score a 3-2 win over Kaya FC-Makati last August 12 at the UMak Stadium in Makati. Omid Nazari, Arnie Pasinabo, and Bienvenido Marañon scored for the away squad while Robert Mendy and Jordan Mintah converted for the home team.
Kaya had the most dangerous chance early when a long cross from Jovin Bedic almost reached Mintah who was all alone in front of Muller. The Makati striker was however half-a-second late to produce an early goal for the home squad. The Busmen turned on the heat after getting two chances from Manny Ott and Maranon. Ott’s long range effort was collected by Ref Cuaresma while a great team effort from up top allowed a header from Maranon which was handled well by the keeper.
Ceres almost scored in the 13th minute when Fernando Rodriguez broke the offside trap before managing to find OJ Porteria in the box. Porteria’s shot was however blocked in front of goal by a defender. Rodriguez was fouled at the edge of the box in the 17th with the whole Ceres team up in arms as they deemed the challenge a clear goal scoring opportunity. Omid Nazari made no mistake in the 19th minute as he struck a clean low shot that went through the bottom of the wall and in for the opener.
The remaining minutes of the half was a cagey a affair with Ceres a bit more dominant in a highly physical battle. The Ceres bench was complaining of hard fouls not not being cautioned as referee Michael Barajas was hesitant to blow his whistle. Kaya too over the remaining minutes with Mendy and Mintah threatening the visitors but the makeshift defense and the composure of Muller held the home side at bay. The LBC-backed squad had the best chance when a Mendy counter was challenged by Carli de Murga forcing the striker to a miss with the Kaya bench calling for a foul. The half ended with Negros having a slim one-goal lead over the Makati.
Ceres-Negros continued their good form five minutes from the restart when Pasinabo scored from a deft shot from outside the box. The Negros native picked out the Kaya keeper by curling a shot towards the far corner for Ceres’ second goal. Kaya almost scored for from the restart but Junior Munoz tackled Bedic just in time on front of goal.
The resulting corner was cleared by Ceres but it bounced off one of their players and towards Mendy who slotted in the first goal for Kaya in the 52nd.
The visitors fought back ten minutes later when Rodriguez broke the offside trap and pushed the ball into space before releasing to Maranon who brilliantly tapped in third goal for the 3-1 lead. Muller made a brilliant save twenty minutes from time when he palmed out Masa Omura’s attempt to preserve the advantage. Negros would earn two tries in the remaining minutes with a volley from Maranon and Rodriguez that both went wide.
Mendy had a good chance in the 85th minute but his header off a Tanton corner was off target. Maranon would try to curl in a shot before the end of regulation but the ball curled out of play. Muller blocked Jayson Panhay’s header in injury time but he wasn’t fortunate enough later when Mintah scored Kaya’s second. The referee called full time with Ceres earning a victory away in Makati.
Coach Risto Vidakovic was happy with the victory but was livid with the officiating in the match. “I think we deserve the victory because we played better, we tried to play football all the time. I think the first foul was a clear red card so I dont knows whats going on here. Its very dangerous already but I don’t like to talk about them (referees) because they are part of football. Somebody has to protect the players. If nobody protects them, one day something very very serious will happen,” said Vidakovic.
Omid Nazari was declared Man of the match with his brilliant goal. The Ceres attacker finally got some redemption after his amazing free kick in the first match against Kaya was not called in his favor. “I think we deserve it (the win). We tried to play football even though its hard to play here. Luckily we won this game,” said Nazari.
Ceres-Negros improved to 25 points after eleven matches trailing league leaders Meralco Manila by eight points. The Busmen will play the sparks on Wednesday in Panaad for their final PFL match before embarking for Dushanbe for the first leg of the Inter-zone semis of the AFC Cup.
Photo from Paula Andrea Marie Puri/PFL