Ceres crushes Hanoi, inches closer to AFC Cup KO stage
BACOLOD CITY – Philippine club Ceres-Negros delivered a performance to remember in front of its home fans, crushing Vietnamese champions Hanoi, 6-2, on Wednesday night to move closer to the knockout stage of the AFC Cup at Panaad Stadium here.
Reeling from a 0-3 defeat to Felda United two weeks ago, the Busmen responded with a glittering attacking display to put Hanoi to the sword and bring life back to their hopes of advancing to the Asean zonal semifinals.
A brace from Spanish midfielder Bienve Maranon and goals from Kevin Ingreso, Fernando Rodriguez and substitute Jason De Jong boosted the Busmen to their second win in five matches in Group G. Hanoi defender
Alvaro Silva was credited with an own goal in the second half.
Ceres now has eight points from five matches just like Hanoi, but the Busmen zoomed to the top of the group due to a better head to head record against the Vietnamese side. Felda which has five points is playing Tampines as of posting time.
Only the top team in group will advance to the knockout round.
“We came up against the strongest team in the group, but the team gave everything they had and this was the
key,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic. “This was the big difference from the previous matches.”
With Manny Ott and Kevin Ingreso back from suspension and injury, respectively, the Busmen managed to dictate proceedings at midfield leading to early chances that set the tone for the rout.
Maranon was brought down inside the area and duly converted from the spot in the 13th minute for the first goal, before Ingreso’s precise strike from the edge of the area doubled the lead eight minutes later.
The visitors trimmed the gap through skipper Pham Thanh Loung’s free kick in the 25th minute.
But the Busmen came out of the halftime break with renewed vigor and Rodriguez banged in the first of his two goals with a first time shot that floated past Van Cong on the Hanoi goal.
Hanoi’s fortunes turned from bad to worst when sub Hoang Vu Samson was sent off for violent conduct in the 62nd minute.
A quick counter led to Ceres fourth goal in the 69th minute as Silva deflected the ball into his own net with Rodriguez ready to pounce.
Do Hong Dung scored Hanoi’s second in the 86th minute with a goal from the penalty spot, but De Jong quickly restored the three goal lead with a close range strike off an Ingreso pass.
Maranon capped the rout with a brilliant individual effort a minute into stoppage time as the Busmen surpassed their goal tally from the 5-0 rout of Tampines Rovers last month.
“Everyone did an amazing job for 90 minutes,” said Ott who captained the side for the first time in the AFC Cup. “I’m very proud of the team. We wanted to make the home fans happy.”
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