Ceres nears AFC Cup KO stage; Global falls short
PHNOM PENH – Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon delivered another hat trick as Ceres Negros rolled past Boeung Ket, 4-0, last Wednesday night to edge closer to the knockout stage of the 2018 AFC Cup.
Maranon dazzled the crowd at National Olympic Stadium with a couple of first half goals, before adding another in the second half, while Taku Uesato came off the bench to add gloss to the scoreline as the Busmen stayed unbeaten in the competition.
The victory increased the Busmen’s tally to 13 points from five matches, although Ceres’ place in the knockout round has yet to be confirmed following Home United of Singapore’s 3-2 win over Shan United of Myanmar.
“What’s important is we got the win and now we can focus on the other important matches in the future,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic.
“We’re in a good position to reach the next round so I think there’s less pressure, but we still want to do our best at home.”
Home has 10 points from five matches, but the S-League can still snatch top spot with a win over Ceres on the final day of the group stage on April 25 as tiebreakers are determined by head-to-head records.
Home and Ceres battled to a 1-1 draw in their initial meeting at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Over at Rizal Memorial Stadium, Global Cebu rallied from two goals down to secure a 3-3 draw with Thanh Hoa of Vietnam.
But the result wasn’t enough for Global to keep its hopes of alive of reachingt= the knockout round as Yangon United sealed top spot with a 3-2 win over Bali United of Indonesia earlier.
Rufo Sanchez equalized for Global in the sixth minute, before goals from Wesley Dos Santos and Daryl Roberts made sure Global secured another point against the Vietnamese side.
Vidakovic was forced to make two changes to the starting lineup with Manuel Herrera sidelined by injury and Mike Ott serving a suspension due to accumulated yellow cards.
The Busmen dominated possession for long stretches, but it wasn’t until the 36th minute when Maranon opened the scoring by rifling home a shot to the bottom corner after good work from Stephan Schrock.
Maranon grabbed a second three minutes later after he was set up by OJ Porteria inside the area as the Busmen finally stamped their authority on the match.
With the Busmen piling up the pressure and Boeung Ket dropping back, Maranon got his hat trick in the 69th minute with Porteria providing the pass again, before the Spanish striker kept his cool from close range.
Uesato got on the scoresheet in the 84th minute, controlling well at the edge of the area before firing low to make it 4-0.
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