Ceres nips Shan United, sets up duel with Thailand’s Port FC
MANILA, Philippines–Philippines Football League champion Ceres-Negros brandished its firepower to score a narrow 3-2 victory over Shan United of Myanmar Tuesday night and reach the next round of the AFC Champions League qualifying stage at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Goals from Robert Lopez Mendy, Beinve Marañon and OJ Porteria gave the Busmen the cushion they needed to overcome a late uprising by Shan and forge a battle with Thai powerhouse Port FC in Bangkok next Tuesday.
Mendy opened the scoring with a left-footed strike off a cross from new signing Pika Minegishi. It was one way traffic for the Busmen for the first half as goalkeeper Roland Muller was reduced to a spectator.
Dominant in possession, the Busmen carved out several chances but it wasn’t until the 41st minute when they doubled the lead through Marañon, who fired with his right foot after getting teed up by Porteria on the right.
The start of the second half followed the same pattern, but the Busmen did waste opportunities that could’ve made it a more comfortable scoreline in front of 3700 fans.
Mendy had a breakaway opportunity spurned and Porteria was also denied by the crossbar when he launched a shot from long range.
Zin Min Tun pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute, heading the ball past Muller.
But it took only six minutes for the Busmen to restore order with Porteria scoring from close range off a pass from Mike Ott inside the area.
Still, the Myanmar League champions, who lost their last five meetings with Ceres, had plenty of fight in them with Maximin Djawa pulling a goal back, setting the stage for the nervy finish.
The Busmen ultimately survived and a trip to Bangkok to face former teammate Martin Steuble and Port FC is up next as they press their bid to enter the main draw of Asia’s most prestigious club competition.
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