Ceres-Negros slays Bung Karno demons | Inquirer Sports
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Ceres-Negros slays Bung Karno demons

By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 07:37 PM April 24, 2019

Ceres-Negros pulls off stunning comeback at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. Photo from AFC Cup Website

JAKARTA—The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium right in the middle of the business district here has not been kind to Filipino football teams over the past two decades.

Although they’ve improved in recent years, the Azkals have not won in the 80,000-capacity stadium against their Indonesian counterparts in three meetings. A 13-1 beatdown suffered at the hands of the hosts in the 2002 Southeast Asian football championships remains one of the worst results of the Philippines in the international stage.

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It took a comeback for the ages from the country’s top club, Ceres-Negros, to finally exorcize some old ghosts at Bung Karno last Tuesday night.

READ: Down 2 goals, Ceres-Negros completes jaw-dropping turnaround

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Facing the mighty Persija Jakarta and an intimidating crowd of almost 35,000, the Busmen pulled off a 3-2 victory over in the AFC Cup.

It wasn’t just the win, but the manner it was hammered out that made the feat even more remarkable.

Down 0-2 after conceding twice early in the second half, the Busmen showed grit and resilience, battling back and taking maximum points, thanks to goals from substitute Miguel Tanton, Bienvenido Maranon and Mike Ott, who fired home the match-winner in the 92nd minute that kept Ceres’ record perfect in the group stage.

The win on Indonesian soil turned out to be the latest milestone for Ceres, which won the first AFC Asean zonal title two years ago, before pulling off a massive upset against Australian club Brisbane Roar in the AFC Champions League last year.

READ: Tough battle up for Ceres Negros

“These type of matches is why you play football,” said Ceres midfielder Stephan Schrock, who provided the assist to Maranon and Ott’s goals. “Right in front of a big crowd, really passionate fans when you are supposed to be underdogs. You just wish you had that type of crowd in the Philippines.”

Schrock was aware of the national team’s woeful record in the stadium, but he was more fired up by comments from Indonesian fans that he and other foreign-born Filipino players represent the country because they have gone through the process of naturalization.

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The Busmen will be looking to build on the win as they have virtually sealed their spot in the knockout stage of the competition.

“The win only helps build the character of the team,” said Ceres captain Martin Steuble.

“When you’re 2-0 down and you come back at this stadium, in this country, in this team with incredible fans, it’s great.”

Schrock said “great teams” are built facing these types of challenges. “It’s just unbelievable,” he said.

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TAGS: afc cup, Ceres Negros, Football, Gelora Bung Karno, Sports
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