TOP local club Ceres-Negros FC kept its unblemished record in the ongoing AFC Cup 2019 intact after fashioning out an impressive come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Persija Jakarta in Group G action in Indonesia on Tuesday.
Down 0-2 early in the contest, which was witnessed by 35,000 hometown fans, the “Busmen” showed tremendous grit in fighting back and stunning Persija and its supporters.
Midfielder Mike Ott provided the winning goal in stoppage time that completed for his team the impressive victory that extended their lead at the top of the standings in Group G.
With the victory, Ceres now holds a 4-0-0 record and 12 points, five clear of second-running Becamex Binh Duong (2-1-1) while Persija (1-1-2) was pinned to third with four points.
Persija was first on the scoreboard, connecting in the 49th and 57th minute care off midfielders Sandi Sute and Rizki Ramdani Lestaluhu, respectively.
But the Busmen remained steadfast in its resolve and slowly chipped away on their deficit.
Substitute Miguel Tanton narrowed the gap at 2-1 with a smooth free kick in the 70th minute.
Team scorer Bienvenido Maranon then pulled Ceres even in the 85th minute when he headed into the net a nifty pass from Stephan Schrock.
Got the momentum it needed, Ceres continued to put pressure on the home team, which it was eventually reward for in stoppage time as Mr. Ott took a pass from Mr. Schrock and swished it past the Persija keeper for what turned out to be the winning goal.
Persija tried to salvage the game after but to no avail.
As expected, Ceres was proud of what it was able to pull off, highlighting how it was a product of team effort and hard work.
“We are happy with the win first of all. The team showed that if everybody works hard anything is possible. It’s very nice,” said Mr. Ott in the postmatch interview.
Ceres next plays on May 1 against already-eliminated Shan United (0-0-4) of Myanmar on May 1 in Yangon. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo