Ten-man Ceres-La Salle FC came from a goal down at the half to score a come-from-behind win to beat JP Voltes FC 4-2 last June 18 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Stephan Shröck, Orman Okunaiya, and Patrick Reichelt combined in a five-minute blitz in the second half to retake the lead and secure the win for the defending champions.
Ceres started off well when ace striker Adrian Gallardo converted an Okunaiya assist to score the opener in the 6th minute. The Negros-based squad would push for more but their chances were denied by the keeper. The Japan-Philippines squad had a resurgence midway in the first half when Takumi Uesato hit the crossbar off a free kick in the 25th minute. Their persistence were rewarded five minutes after when William Espinosa chipped the ball over Louie Casas to score the equalizer.
The Busmen would be in trouble in the 36th minute after Gallardo was given a straight red after a crunching challenge on defender Peter Fadrigalan. Voltes would take advantage in injury time when Uesato scored another off a counterattack to putting his squad ahead. The half would finish with JP Voltes leading 2-1.
Ceres came off the halftime break with the eagarness to score the equalizer and they were successful with just five minutes in with a Shröcky strike. Okuinaya would score the go-ahead goal after heading in a Shrock assist in the 63rd minute. Reichelt would then make it four after converting an Okuinaya cross to complete the comeback just a minute later.
JP Voltes would attempt their own comeback in the hour mark when Uesato was fouled by Casas in the penalty box. The Japanese striker stepped in for the penalty but Casas was there to make the all-important save and maintain the advantage. The rest of the match saw both teams with their own chances but Ceres secured the 4-2 win at full time.
The win pushed Ceres-La Salle at the top of the standings, leading Global and Loyola in goal difference, with Global having a game in hand. They will face Kaya FC on June 25 before leaving for the Singapore Cup quarterfinals where they will fave Brunei DPMM.
All photos from UFL Philippines (www.uflph.com)