Senegalese hat trick fuels Ceres-Negros rout of Air Force booters
Senegalese striker Robert Lopez Mendy fired a late hat trick as Ceres-Negros FC completed a season sweep of Philippine Air Force with a 7-0 demolition last Saturday night in the Philippines Football League at Aboitiz pitch in Lipa.
Coming off an 18-day break following the international window, the Busmen hardly missed a beat as they pummeled the Airmen for the fourth time this season and extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches.
Bienve Marañon, OJ Porteria, Mike Ott and the returning Dennis Villanueva all found the back of the net for a Ceres side that improved its haul to 43 points, six ahead of Kaya-Iloilo.
It took Ceres just 32 minutes to unlock the Air Force defense as Marañon fired home a header to the bottom corner for his 24th goal of the season.
Porteria doubled the lead just before halftime and teed up Mendy for his first goal in the 40th minute. Mendy grabbed two more goals after halftime to increase his tally to 10 for fourth spot in the scoring charts this season. Ott hiked his total to 13.
“It’s not easy to play after the long break,” said Ceres-Negros coach Risto Vidakovic, whose team faces Kaya-Iloilo on Wednesday also in Lipa.
“It’s normal that we start slow, but later it became a very easy game after the fifth goal. It’s always difficult to switch on the competitive level but we always tried to play the way we did.”
In the other match, Global Cebu and Mendiola FC battled to a 1-1 stalemate with Nimrod Balabat salvaging the draw with an 85th minute goal.
Global took the lead through a penalty by Paolo Salenga in the 37th minute. Mendiola moved up to fifth spot with 12 points, ahead of Air Force, while Global remained at the bottom with just six points.
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