Ceres-Negros FC came off with a statement win to blank Meralco Manila 7-0 in their Philippines Football League match last July 15 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Iain Ramsay scored a hat trick with Fernando Rodriguez completing an early brace. Stephan Schröck added another for the Negros squad.
Ceres opened the scoring in the 17th when Rodriguez beautifully volleyed a long ball from Jeffrey Christaens for the 1-0 lead. Minutes later, Christaens found a streaking Ramsay who treaded the goal line before releasing to Rodriguez. The Spanish striker struck it well to the far post for Ceres’ second. Manny Ott almost scored the third when he was on the end of great passing sequence but keeper Jun Badelic tapped it out just in time.
Ramsay joined the fray in the 37th when his great timed run was matched by clinical through ball by Ott to allow the winger to slot in a third goal. Meralco got its first chance moment later when a ball was played to Taj Minniecon but the Aussie player skied his attempt. The home squad would add another chance when Phil Younghusband’s free kick allowed Joaco Cañas a free header but the attempt was controlled well by Roland Müller.
Cañas would again head in a dangerous ball a minute before halftime but the Ceres keeper tapped it wide. The resulting counterattack saw Ott dangerously tackled by Alvin Sarmiento. A commotion ensued after the challenge with three players getting cards. Sarmiento, Milan Nikolic, and Super Herrera received yellows. The half would end with Ceres-Negros owning a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Manila squad started the second half strong but were caught out just four minutes from the restart. OJ Porteria issued a fancy ball to an open Ramsay to score his second and a fourth goal for Ceres. The busmen didnt waste time from the restart as Schröck dispossessed Lee Jeong Min at the back before breaking out for a 1v1 and shooting the fifth for the yellow-and-black.
With the game open, both teams carved plenty of chances after the hour mark. Minniecon headed a ball which went over the bar while a cheeky back header from James Younghusband forced Müller to a fine save. Ott would break the offside trap in the 64th but his hurried shot flashed wide. James Younghusband would get a good through ball from his brother but his attempt was covered well by the keeper.
Ramsay would complete his hat trick inthe 74th after Carli de Murga cleared the ball in his path. The former A-League player took a volley off a bounce to blast the ball towards the top corner to make it six. It wasn’t Meralco’s day in all fronts as Alvin Sarmiento would turn in an own goal from a Patrick Reichelt cross in injury time to complete the 7-0 drubbing.
“I think the players gave a hundred percent in the first half, that’s why we went to halftime with 3-0 lead. I think its easier to play after that because there’s no pressure anymore in the second half. They can give the best for you without any pressure. In the second half, they also started to attacking and we had a lot of space so we scored more goals in the second from the first which is good. But the most important thing for me is that we didn’t concede any goal,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic.
Ceres-Negros jumped to temporary third place with the win with JPV Marikina and Kaya having a game in hand in Makati tomorrow. They will face the Davao Aguilas at home on July 22 with the southern squad earning a 0-0 draw against Global in Cebu.
Photos from FC Meralco Manila/Bob Guerrero