Ceres brave past resilient Stallion Laguna FC to keep their cup dreams alive

Saudis, UAE, Bahrain to compete at Gulf Cup

By Jaimer Dela Cruz

Despite their slow start in the game, Ceres-Negros FC finished strong against Stallion Laguna FC in their second meeting in the Copa Paulino Alcantara to keep their dreams of lifting the cup alive.

After numerous attempts to break the barrier of the busmen, Stallion Laguna broke the deadlock on the 39th minute through Fitch Arboleda’s easy tap in. Carlo Polli initiated the play as he intended to give the ball to Ruben Doctora but the deflection of the defenders found Arboleda free in the center. Despite an outstretched Roland Muller, Arboleda didn’t made a bit of mistake to miss out on an opportunity to put his side ahead.

Ceres, on the other hand had most of their chances in the first half gone to waste as they failed to break the final third of Laguna. Coming into the second half, a rejuvenated Ceres side went on to pressure the defense of Stallion who seemed to shifted their gear a bit since the whistle for the second half.

Such gearshift led to an equalizer on the 56th minute. Blake Powell was freed on the right side by Manny Ott. Powell just needed to slide in for the goal that leveled the match. Since the goal, life has been brought back to the match with both sides going tit for tat on either end of the pitch.

Powell’s goal woked as an adrenaline boost for the busmen as they’ve continued on the offensive since the equalizer, forcing Stallion to hold off their attack and defend. Frustrations started to sink in on the 68th minute as Abu Sy and Omid Nazari got into a tussle.

Looking to break the deadlock, Martin Steuble tried from distance on the 71st minute but Ben Rosalia was up to the challenge. On the other side of the pitch, Ashley Flores broke loose on the right who then tried to sneak one past Muller but the keeper got it covered.

Towards the end of the match, Stallion wanted to take home all three points as they put in the counter. Polli initiated the counter who then saw Arboleda on the left side. If not for Arboleda’s poor first touch, they could’ve sealeda winner.

Going against the tide of play, Manny Ott scored on the 83rd minute through Curt Dizon’s pass. Dizon broke loose on the right which gave him a chance to square the ball to Ott who then shot it first-time and found the back of the net.

As Ceres tried to look for the insurance goal, Powell got a shot on goal but Rosalia was there to cover him. The busmen did not let off on attack as they continued to pile on a dejected back four of Stallion to negate any chances of a comeback.

Despite Stallion’s effort in the offense, in the end, Ceres still saw the light under at the end of the tunnel as they have yet to live another day in the cup. They then face Davao on Saturday to try and book for their semifinals ticket.