BACOLOD CITY—Refusing to be awed by Stallion Giligan’s pedigree, Ceres delivered the biggest upset of the PFF Smart Club Championship yesterday with a stunning 1-0 victory over the reigning UFL Cup titlists at Panaad Stadium here.
Reinforced by Korean and English players, the Bacolod side made the most out of its only legitimate scoring chance and defended doggedly to reach the quarterfinals against the winner of the Global-Nomads clash scheduled last night.
Korean winger Kim Jung-mook’s left-footed strike just moments before halftime proved to be the game-winner in a match that took extra significance with both teams representing the storied Negros-Iloilo football rivalry.
Over at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Pasargad, playing with 10 men for almost the entire match, nipped Army, 2-1, to also advance to the Round of 16 against General Trias International.
Hoping to pick up from where they left off in the UFL Cup where they stunned Global in the finals, Stallion dominated the game early on with Spanish striker Rufo Sanchez and skipper Ruben Doctora causing problems to the defense that was marshaled with authority by Jason Cordova and Danny Claxton.
But Ceres, owned by brothers Leorey and Ricky Yanson, cashed in on their chance with substitute Peter Long winning a header over Joaquin Canas that gave Yoon Byeong-jun a chance to cross low for Jung Mook’s goal.
Stallion sent in Jason de Jong at halftime and the midfielder forced a fine low save from Hyoun Jae-jun. But the best of Hyoun’s saves came in the 74th minute when he parried away Sanchez’s close-range strike.
“We had nothing to lose and played without pressure,” said Ceres coach Freddie Lazarito.
“We’re happy to have beaten an established UFL club, which shows development in our setup here,” said Leorey Yanson.