10-man Ceres earn last-gasp 3-2 win against Kaya

It was a memorable affair for invested fans and neutrals alike as both sides produced a powder-keg of a match lit by a wet Pana-ad Park & Stadium pitch.

With both teams coming into this game as strong contenders for the playoffs spots, with Kaya in second place at the league standings while mighty Ceres sitting in third with multiple games in-hand, a competition “to the nines” was brewing and… it delivered.

The game began with the visitors Kaya coming off the blocks and surprising Ceres Negros with an early goal in the third minute, Jordan Mintah latched onto a well taken cross by Lopez Mendy which beat Ceres keeper, Roland Müller. What a dream start for the Makati club!

However the lead would prove to be short lived as the hosts responded well enough, building chance upon chance which, after just six minutes Bienvenido Marañon was able to produce an equalizer by connecting a flighted cross by Arnie Pasinabo with a header. One-all. Game on!

A few moments more, come the 16th minute the hosts got the breakthrough as Kaya were not able to clear their lines well due to the soaked and muddy pitch. The ball somehow found Fernando Rodriguez at the center of Kaya’s penalty box who emphatically banged the ball that almost ripped through the net! 2-1 Ceres.

The game then settled a bit for the rest of the first half as both teams started to labor in conjuring up a flowing style of football due to the state of the pitch. Kaya had some half chances, but were not able to convert as the game headed into the break with the hosts nursing a slender lead.

Come the second half, the Makati-club was able to get an equalizer in the 56th minute but not without controversy. As the muddy pitch continued to add to the labors of both sides in setting up chances, the plays were obviously a bit more physical. During Kaya’s ball into Ceres’ box it seemed Müller was caught by boot to the head when going for the save who spilled the ball. However, the referee did not stop the play in which Alfred Osei pounced on the free ball for the goal.

The resulting play was met by several protests mainly from the Ceres Negros team and fans. The continued arguing resulted into an almost 10-minute halt of proceedings. Eventually, the match continued on.

In the 78th minute Ceres’ misery in their quest for a match-winner was compounded when they went down to ten men as Jeffrey Christiaens got his second yellow card.

In the 82nd minute despite being a man down, a golden chance opened for The Busmen as a penalty kick was awarded to them. Marañon stood up to take the penalty but his attempt was saved! Still 2-2.

It seemed both sides are heading to share the spoils of the table points with a draw as the play became more and more of a ‘battle royale’ with the state of the pitch and the elevated tension between both clubs. However, Fernando Rodriguez had other plans.

With a lengthy eight minutes of added time due to the stoppages incurred earlier in the game, a platform for a late winner was in place. That platform did not disappoint as Stephan Schröck turned creator and provider to Fernando Rodriguez who was able to find the back of the net from an angle which would prove the match-winner, 3-2!

In the end it was a memorable match that was full of drama, bickering, protests, physical play, a late goal, a rainy weather and a muddy pitch!

The result puts Ceres in third place in the league standings with 38 points, while Kaya remains at second with 41.

Ceres next plays at home against JPV on October 18 while Kaya would seek to bounce back at home against dangerous Global Cebu on October 21.

Follow this writer on Twitter @earlaverilla

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