By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
PLAYING with more sense of urgency than its previous game, Ceres-Negros FC came out on top of visiting Yangon United FC, 4-2, in the first leg of their AFC Cup knockout match on Wednesday night in Bacolod City, moving one step away from the ASEAN Zonal finals.
The reigning ASEAN winner in the tournament, Ceres was towed to the victory over Yangon by the brace of team leading scorer Bienvenido Marañon and goals each from Patrick Reichelt and Super.
The win was a bounce back for the “Busmen,” who nearly missed the ride to the knockout stages after losing in their final game in group play against Home United FC of Singapore, 2-0, in the process having group leadership slip from their hands.
Ceres was able to book a ticket by finishing with the best runner-up record of four wins, a draw and a loss with 13 points.
Mr. Marañon got the scoring for Ceres on Wednesday in the 29th minute after racing on to a throughball from teammate Manny Ott.
It was followed up on to by Mr. Reichelt four minutes later off a rebound from a blocked shot, helping Ceres to a 2-nil lead.
Spaniard Marañon further buried the visitors with another goal as the opening half drew to a close, scoring in the 44th minute to make it 3-0.
Yangon was able to break through 10 minutes after the start of the second half, with Sekou Sylla, who used to play for Global Cebu FC, on the scoring end.
The hosts though were quick to check any momentum that Yangon was trying to build with a 63rd-minute goal from Super setting the visitors back anew.
Yangon tried to claw its way back but could only come within two points with Mr. Sylla providing another point in the 83rd minute.
With the victory, Ceres takes a two-goal advantage heading into the next leg in Myanmar on May 16.
Worth noting, however, are the two away goals that Yangon scored in Bacolod and that Ceres has to do a good job negating it come the next encounter.