A late blitz saw Ceres-Negros claim a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Shan United last March 6 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. Patrick Reichelt and Bienvenido Maranon scored while Mike Ott produced a wonderful assist to cap their unbeaten streak in the tournament.
The home squad found it difficult to break the excellent defense of the Myanmar squad in the first half. Runs from Stephan Schrock and company put the Burmese defense early in the match. They had their best chance in the 18th minute when Schrock found Maranon in the box with the Spaniard’s attempt deflected straight to the keeper.
Mike Ott had another chance minutes later when he skipped past a defender before firing a shot into the side netting. A weak header from Carli De Murga off a corner was collected by Thiha Si Thu in the 26th minute.
The visitors had a good chance ten minutes later when Cristopher Chizoba broke away from the Ceres defense only to see his shot saved by the well positioned Toni Doblas.
Ceres had a well made chance in the 38th when Manny Ott crossed to Takumi Uesato who laid-off brilliantly to a rushing Maranon. The striker however curled his shot onto the side netting.
The final chance of the match came to Ceres when Manny Ott was fouled twenty five yards from goal. Omid Nazari stepped in for the free kick which dipped late ending a yard past the crossbar in the 45th.
Coach Risto Vidakovic changed his approach at halftime bring in in Reichelt and Junior Munoz for Uesato and Sean Kane. The first chance after the break came in the 55th to Manny Ott whose opportunistic shot from distance curled a foot wide of the post.
Kevin Ingreso also tried from distance ten minutes later but his attempt was well wide. The Negros squad squandered a chance in the 73rd when Maranon tried to redirect an initial header from Super Herrera but his attempt from close range was a yard wide off the woodwork.
It was in the 79th minute when Ceres persistence was rewarded when a poor clearance from Hein Thiha Zhaw bounced off the post. Reichelt poked the free ball into the back of the net to put the his squad ahead.
The Busmen doubled the advantage with a great team play between Maranon and Mike Ott. The Younger ott waltzed past two defenders before beating another and releasing to the free Maranon. The Spaniard made no mistake from close range to make it 2-0.
Reichelt almost made it three when he outran the Shan defense in the wings before releasing a shot that went wide of the far post. The reigning Myanmar champions had a golden chance but substitute Patrick Asare shot over an open goal to keep the visitors scoreless.
The win gave Ceres-Negros some breathing room when they travel to Yangon next week for the return match with Shan United. They are on top of Group F with seven points followed by Home United with four.
Boeung Ket earned their first points in the tournament with a 3-2 win over Home United. The Cambodian outfit is tied in points with Shan United but are still in fourth due to the head-to head tiebreaker.
Ceres-Negros will resume their AFC Campaign on March 14 when the play Shan United again in the Thuwanna Stadium in the former Myanmar capital.