Ceres, Global blank foes
BACOLOD CITY—It was one of those nights when Ceres-Negros couldn’t seem to do anything wrong, playing with style and substance and scoring some highlight-reel worthy goals.
The 5-0 victory over Singapore side Tampines Rovers, fashioned out before a crowd of close to 10,000 Tuesday night at Panaad Stadium, was remarkable not just because of the scoreline against one of the more established clubs in the Asean region but also because four of the goals that could go down as one of the finest in the history of the tournament.
The performance left national coach Thomas Dooley in awe, even as he marveled at the form of some of the Azkals, who struggled in the AFF Suzuki Cup last year in Bulacan.
“They’re fit, they’re strong and they fight for each other,” said Dooley, who watched the match along with Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta, in praising Ceres.
“I just hope that they would also translate that form to the national team because our target is really to make the Asian Cup in 2019.”
Ceres seized top spot in Group G with four points, ahead of Tampines and Hanoi, which was held to a 1-1 draw by Felda United in Malaysia.
Global set the stage for a glorious night for Filipino clubs in the continental competition as it turned back Boeung Ket Angkor of Cambodia, 2-0, to gain top spot in Group F in Phnom Penh.
Paul Mulders scored both of Global’s goals in each half with the opener coming in the fifth minute when he volleyed from just outside the box.
The former Filipino international scored the second goal from the penalty spot, after Shu Sasaki was fouled inside the box to seal a second straight win for Global.
What made the feat even more remarkable for the Filipino clubs is the fact that the national league has yet to start, while all other domestic competitions in Southeast Asia are in full swing, allowing the other Asean clubs to keep their competitive edge.
The fans in Bacolod who braved the early evening drizzle hardly warmed their seats when new acquisition Iain Ramsay struck a sublime goal just seconds into the match.
Ramsay’s strike set the tone to a glorious evening for the home side. Maranon doubled the lead in the 24th minute by tapping home into an empty net after an error by Tampines goal keeper Izwan Mahbud.
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