With their backs against the wall, Ceres-Negros FC put up a a masterful performance in Match day 5 to reclaim pole position in Group G of the AFC Cup. Two early goals and a second half red card spelled the difference as Ceres-Negros FC dealt V.League 1 champions Hanoi FC a 6-2 beating last April 19 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City. Bienvenido Maranon scored a brace while Kevin Ingreso, Fernando Rodriguez, and Jason De Jong scored one goal each. Hanoi’s Alvaro Silva was adjudged an own goal in the match.
It was the visitors who put the pressure in the early part of the match allowing Pham Thanh Luong a tricky pass towards Nguyen Van Quyet who was covered well by the defense in the fourth minute. Ceres would have a chance of their own when a confusion in the box allowed Iain Ramsay a volley try that went wide.
A penalty was awarded in the 12th minute to the home squad when Maranon was brought down in the box. The visiting squad were up in arms as they deemed the penaly soft but the referee waved off all complaints. The Spanish midfielder made no mistake by cheekily shooting the ball in the middle to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Hanoi would bring the ball to the danger area in the 20th when Van Quyet would get a lovely through pass but his hesitation move allowed the Ceres defense stifle his play. Ceres would double the lead one minute later with Ingreso’s superb strike from 20 yards. The midfielder struck the ball well for it to hit the underside of the post and in for the 2-0 lead.
The current V.League leaders would get a goal back in the 25th when Thanh Luong hit a well placed free kick to the top corner to put the score at 2-1. Both squads went at it in the remaining minutes in the highly contested match. Ceres turned the tempo with their great passing play while Hanoi would give the home crowd a scare with their counterattacks.
Van Quyets shot was punched out by Roland Muller in the 39th minute but the visitors recovered with Moses Oloya getting the ball in the right wing who faked his defender to create space and try a swerving attempt to the second post. His shot was luckily wide of the goal. Ceres would continue their superb passing which allowed Rodriguez to be free in the danger area but his attempts were off.
The visitors would close out the half stronger with a free kick from the right edge of the box that was cleared in the goal line with the succeeding attempt off the corner from Van Quyet that went well wide. The half would finish with Ceres up 2-1.
Hanoi FC would come out strong at halftime with a shot from Nguyen Quang Hai that forced a save from Muller. Ceres would then take control from then on and they were rewarded with a goal by Rodriguez on the 54th minute. The spaniard struck a dipping ball from the edge of the box that went over Nguyen Van Cong and in for the 3-1 lead.
Things went downhill for Hanoi when a substitute Hoang Vu Samson was sent off with a straight red with violent conduct. The naturalized Vietnamese player was seen punching Ceres defender Kota Kawase on an altercation near the Ceres backline. Ceres would increase its lead in the 69th minute when Maranon tricked his defender with a change in direction which allowed the midfielder to release OJ Porteria who issued a through ball to Rodriquez. Hanoi’s Alvaro Silva however got through the ball first but poked it past his own keeper to add to Ceres 4th.
Though the win was inevitable for Ceres, Hanoi still fought like champions pushing Muller to a foot save and back to back punches in a span of five minutes from the 72nd. A series of injuries saw the debuts of Arnie Pasinabo and De Jong for Junior Munoz and Rodriguez. In the 83rd minute a well worked pass from Porteria saw Iain Ramsay in front of goal but his shot by his weaker foot was cleared off the line.
In the 85th, Pasinabo was adjudged with a trip in the box which saw Do Hung Dung convert a penalty in the 86th. Ceres would come out to return the favor moments later when a great team effort allowed De Jong to easily slot the ball in for his first AFC Cup goal. Maranon would collect his brace in the 90th minute when he faked his defender and slid the ball in for Ceres 6th and final goal. The match would end with a score of 6-2.
The win propelled Ceres to top spot of the group at 8 points beating Hanoi with the head-to-head tie breaker. The other result saw Tampines Rovers edge Felda United 3-1 in Malaysia. The win pushed the Singaporeans to third with six points elimination Felda from contention. Ceres-Negros will play Tampines Rovers in Singapore on May the 3rd with a win needed by Philippine squad to secure the top spot.
Photo from Stephen Tan