PH clubs Ceres-Negros, Kaya-Iloilo lead their groups after big victories
THU DAU MOT—The league at home will only begin at the end of March but Philippine clubs Ceres-Negros and Kaya-Iloilo have already made a strong statement in this year’s AFC Cup.
By the end of Matchday 2 last Wednesday, both Filipino clubs are already at the top of their respective groups following convincing victories in Vietnam and in Bacolod City.
Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon bagged a hat trick as the Busmen subdued Becamex Binh Duong, 3-1, for their second straight victory in Group H at Gu Dau Stadium in this industrial city outside of Saigon.
Maranon struck in the first half before firing two quick goals late in the second half as the Busmen showed grit and character to survive a huge scare from the Vietnamese side.
“I think we can still improve,” Maranon said. “We are not yet in our best form, but we need to make up from our performance in the last game.”
The Busmen also needed a stellar performance from goalkeeper Roland Muller, who produced a string of impressive saves to keep the Philippine champions ahead in the second half.
The win increases Ceres’ tally to six points from two matches, ahead of Persija Jakarta of Indonesia, which has four points after a 3-1 win over Shan United of Myanmar early Tuesday.
Only the top team in the group is guaranteed to make the knockout phase of Asia’s second-tier club football competition.
Over at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City, Kaya delivered a five-star performance to wallop reigning Asean zone champion Home United of Singapore, 5-0.
The Iloilo side got a brace each from Darryl Roberts and Alfred Osei, while captain Jovin Bedic scored for the second straight match for Kaya, which leads Group H with four points.
Roberts headed home a corner from Marwin Angeles in the second minute, before Bedic doubled the lead with a strike from just inside the area.