Ceres-Negros bowed out of the Copa Paulino Alcantara after losing to the Davao Aguilas 1-2 last September 22 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Wesley Dos Santos and Phil Younghusband scored for the home team while Mike Ott added another for the visitors.
It was Davao who had the best chance in the first fifteen minutes when Matt Hartmann picked out Jason de Jong in a forward position but the designated number ten could only see in point blank shot go wide.
The Aguilas went ahead when Dos Santos redirected the corner towards goal from a very narrow angle. Roland Muller seemed to have handled the ball but it was adjudged by the referee to have crossed the line in the 16th minute.
Ceres-Negros had their first chance minutes later when Omid Nazari lined up for a free kick but his attempt didn’t have enough power to bother Patrick Deyto. The busmen took control of the remaining minutes of the half which produced a lot of chances but disciplined defending from the home squad saw Davao with the 1-0 lead at the break.
It went from bad to worse for Ceres after the break when a deep cross in the box bounced towards the arms of Junior Munoz which forced the referee to point at the spot. Younghusband stepped forward and converted to make it 2-0 after fourty seven minutes.
Negros pulled a goal back minutes later courtesy of Mike Ott who ran into the box and volleyed in the corner of older brother Manny to make it 2-1 in the 53rd.
Things became interesting at the hour mark when a retaliation from Blake Powell to Dos Santos saw both player getting yellows with the Brazilian marching out for his second bookable offense.
Ceres-Negros tried to make use of the man advantage but the deep backline of Davao only allowed the busmen to take shots from outside the box with most going off target. Martin Steuble had the best chance to equalize in the 83rd but his stinger of a shot was tamed by the keeper.
Davao almost got a third in injury time but Muller sprung from his line to cover a Phil Younghusband counterattack. The final whistle blew with Davao taking a seat in the cup semifinals.
“We did everything in this game but its not enough,” said Ceres assistant Ian Treyes. With the result, I hope that the next we can assess our performance so we can prepare for our next tournament. We are just happy that we finished the game with no serious injuries.”
“At the start of this campaign, you can already see from our roster that most of our players are on the injured list. We tried our best to perform a hundred-and-one percent in this cup but it wasn’t enough,” he added.
Ceres-Negros will now take break after twenty months of consecutive football since February of 2017. They will start their 2019 campaign on February in the preliminary stages of the AFC Champions League.