PHILIPPINE champion Ceres-Negros FC began its 2019 AFC Cup campaign on a winning note, defeating Myanmar’s Shan United FC, 3-2, in their Group G opener on Tuesday night at the Panaad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City.
Getting an early cushion in the match, the “Busmen” hung tough and never relinquished their lead on their way to booking the win and the three points that went with it for share of group leadership at the onset of the tournament.
Midfielder OJ Porteria got the scoring going for the hosts, slamming a seven-yarder in the 19th minute for the 1-0 lead.
Forward Bienvenido Maranon then made it 2-0 for Ceres in the 37th minute off a spot kick.
But Shan United would not go down without a fight, narrowing its deficit, 2-1, five minutes into the second half care of midfielder Zin Min Tun.
The visitors tried to claw their way back some more after only to find Mr. Porteria stomping on their thrust with his second goal in the 87th minute, converting on a pass from teammate Stephan Schrock to make it 3-1.
A minute later substitute Dway Ko Ko Chit infused life back into Shan United’s thrust with a goal.
No comeback though came for the Myanmar team as Ceres put its foot down for the remainder of regulation and the four-minute added time and held on for the victory.
Next for Ceres is a match with Becamex Binh Duong on March 12 in Vietnam while Shan United plays Persija Jakarta of Indonesia. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo