Ceres XI on verge of outright AFC berth
BACOLOD CITY—Playing before the home crowd at Panaad Stadium always seems to bring out the best out of Ceres-Negros regardless of the pedigree of the opposition.
Hanoi FC was the latest team to fall in a thrilling goalfest to the Busmen, who looked poised to snare a spot in the Asean zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup, after a 6-2 drubbing of the Vietnamese champions in Group H on Wednesday night here.
Bienve Maranon scored twice, while Fernando Rodriguez, Kevin Ingreso and Jason de Jong were also on target. Hanoi defender Alvaro Silva accounted for an own goal.
But as impressive as the victory looked, it could go for naught if the Busmen don’t beat the Tampines Rovers on May 3 in their last group game in Singapore.
Tampines, which suffered a 0-5 defeat to Ceres at Panaad last month, stunned Felda United of Malaysia, 3-1, at Jalan Besar Stadium, setting the stage for a tight finish in the group with all four teams in the hunt.
Consistency remains a concern for coach Risto Vidakovic, whose team bounced back from a 0-3 loss to Felda two weeks ago.
“We have to keep the players motivated all the time,” said Vidakovic.
There was no such problem against Hanoi as the Busmen turned on the style early to take the fight out of the visitors.
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