AFC Cup: Rampant Ceres puts 5 goals past Tampines
BACOLOD CITY – A glittering display of attacking football boosted Ceres-Negros to a 5-0 demolition of Singapore side Tampines Rovers Tuesday night at a packed Panaad Stadium here.
Buoyed by the support of the home crowd, Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon bagged a brace, while Iain Ramsay, Manny Ott and Spanish import Fernando Rodriguez were also on the scoresheet as Ceres put the hapless Stags to the sword for their first win in Group G.
Aggressive with their pressing game and clinical with their finishing, the Busmen found themselves on top of their group after Matchday Two with Vietnamese champions Hanoi FC held to a 1-1 draw by Felda United in Malaysia.
It wasn’t just the scoreline that was impressive for Ceres, but four of the goals were beautifully taken by a beefed-up side that boasted of quality on all areas of the pitch.
Their confidence boosted by the 1-1 draw by Hanoi FC in the Vietnamese capital, the Busmen delivered a performance to remember in front of their home fans who hardly warmed their seats when new signing Ramsay struck a sublime goal just seconds into the match.
Ramsay’s stunning strike – taken first-time using the outside of his left foot – set the tone to a glorious evening for the home side, which matched its most lopsided win in the tournament – a 5-0 blanking of Sheikh Jamal of Bangladesh last year.
Maranon doubled the lead in the 24th minute by tapping home into an empty net, after an error by Tampines goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, who failed to collect the ball when he came off his line.
The third goal in the 38th minute was also a sight to behold with Ott, finding space from just outside the box, rifling the ball to the top corner. The ball took a kind bounce in the underside of the bar, leaving Singapore international Izwan, who once shut out Asian powerhouse Japan in a World Cup Qualifying match two years ago, helpless.
Ceres needed a fine save from Roland Muller to keep a clean sheet with the Azkals stopper thwarting Ryutaro Megumi on a one on one opportunity just minutes before Maranon grabbed his second goal in the 65th minute.
This time, it was a quick counter-attack that led to the fourth goal with Maranon deftly controlling a lofted pass from Ramsay before chipping the ball past Izwan.
Rodriguez punctuated the rout in the 72nd minute, finishing off a lovely team move that involved Ott and Jeff Christiaens. A reverse pass from Ott found Christiaens on the left, before he crossed low for Rodriguez to deliver a side-footed finish.
But the night ended early for captain Carlie De Murga, who was stretchered off in the last 10 minutes, replaced by Japanese defender Kota Kawase.
Ceres looks to solidify its hold of top spot when it hosts Felda United on March 15.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.