DEFENDING ASEAN Zonal winner Ceres-Negros FC shoots for a second consecutive final appearance in a key AFC Cup away matchup today against Yangon United FC in Myanmar.
A 4-2 winner in the first leg of their knockout matchup on May 9 in Bacolod City, Ceres is out to finish things and advance to the next round of the tournament in the second leg to be played at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.
The “Busmen” were towed to the first-leg victory over Yangon by the brace of team leading scorer Bienvenido Marañon and goals each from Patrick Reichelt and Super.
Mr. Marañon got the scoring going for Ceres 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.
Now a step closer to advancing to the ASEAN finals anew, Mr. Marañon encouraged his teammates to take cue from the first-leg victory and play inspired football.
“I think we played really, really well. They had two or three chances and scored two goals so they had a lot of luck, but I think 4-2 is really good for us as we can score at any moment over there. We have to continue like this and keep the ball because we will get chances. We have to play like we did today, we have to try to score and if we do that it’s finished,” said Mr. Marañon following their first-leg victory.
Ceres-Negros now needs protect its two-goal advantage in the first leg to ensure their place in the final legs in August.
The Ceres-Yangon match is to be played at 3:30 p.m. (Myanmar time), 5 p.m. in Manila, and will be shown live over Fox Sports. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo