Ceres stuns Port, sets up date with FC Tokyo
BANGKOK – Philippines Football League champion Ceres-Negros delivered a gutsy performance on enemy ground to stun Thai League 1 powerhouse Port FC, 1-0, Tuesday night to reach the next round of the AFC Champions League preliminary stage at PAT Stadium here.
Captain Stephan Schrock provided the flash of inspiration and the Busmen put together a gallant stand to frustrate the Thai FA Cup champions in the first meeting between a Filipino club and a Thai club in the continent’s most prestigious club competition.
With the victory, Ceres will advance to the final round of qualification against Japanese side Tokyo FC in a match that will be played on Tuesday.
It marked the second time that Ceres has reached this stage of the competition.
The Busmen pulled off the feat two years ago when they beat Shan United and Brisbane Roar of Australia, before falling short against Tianjin Quanjian of China.
Schrock caught Port goalkeeper Worawut Srisupa napping in the 59th minute when his driven cross from the right proved too hot to handle. Worawut spilled the ball which had already crossed the line.
The goal stunned the 6,234 predominantly Port fans as their first appearance in the competition looked poised to be derailed by the Busmen.
Pika Minegishi almost doubled the lead minutes later, but Worawut came up with a reflex save to deny the Ceres midfielder.
A combination of stout defending and some luck got Ceres over the line in the second half. Taka Odawara had a couple of crucial tackles and a goal line clearance on Adisak Kaisorn’s goalbound effort.
Port dominated possession in the first half, but clearly struggled to break down a well-drilled Ceres side.
Bienve Marañon and Mike Ott all had opportunities to give Ceres the lead, only for Worawut to deny them opportunities.
In the end, though, Ceres hung tough for another historic achievement.
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