Ceres-Negros claim PFL trophy in style with dominant win over Stallion

Consadole Sapporo and Kawasaki Frontale through to Levain Cup final

Ceres Negros get a convincing 4-1 win in front of their home crowd against Stallion Laguna as The Busmen put their hands on the trophy in their final game of the PFL season in Pana-ad Park and Stadium.

The hosts were the first to have a sniff at scoring a goal and breaking the ice but Dizon’s header in the third minute just missed the target.

Soon enough, Stallion had their first chance via a 7th minute freekick, but Fitch Arboleda’s effort was way off the mark.

In the 11th minute, Ceres-Negros seemed to have come close with a short range opportunity but Tripulca was there to make the timely intervention. It wouldn’t have mattered though even if went in as the linesman signalled for offside.

Am minute after the first quarter of an hour, Nierras stood up with a freekick attempt for Stallion, but it was easily dealt with by Roland Muller.

A few minutes passed with both sides trading spells in possession when The Busmen were awarded a freekick in a promising possession, but Maranon’s shot in the 22nd minute was denied by the Laguna wall.

Four minutes before the half hour mark, Ceres Negros captain Martin Steuble produced a teasing cross with enough curl that could have been a threat for Stallion, but Tripulca was able to stretch and snatch the ball in the air.

In the 32nd minute, Ceres broke the ice in spectacular fashion as striker Bienvenido Maranon scored a stunner to put his side in front.

Seven minutes later, Steuble found himself a chance with a rare foray into Stallion’s box but his shot was snuffed out by Tripulca.

An exciting exchange ensued as both sides were able to come up with their own promising chances. But despite the push for goals from both ends of the pitch, the halftime arrived with Ceres-Negros protecting a narrow one-goal lead.

Just four minutes after the restart, Ceres Negros found themselves two goals up as Martin Steuble scores from close range off an assist from Blake Powell.

But Stallion had the best response with Nathan Alquiros scoring in the 51st minute to reduce the deficit and keep his side well in the match.

What followed is a fightback of sorts for the visitors with a few attacking plays that came close to producing the equaliser but goalkeeper Roland Muller came up with some crucial top saves to maintain the advantage.

But in the 67th minute, Ceres-Negros were able to restore their two-goal buffer as Blake Powell was able to receive a through ball inside the box and chip over Stallion keeper Jhun Tripulca to put his name in the match scoresheet.

Stallion this time continued with their positive style of football despite being back down by two goals as they continued to counter Ceres.

In the 80th minute that chance to score once again arrived as Nathan Alquiros was able to receive the ball with only Muller to beat but he squandered the attempt as his curler narrowly missed the target.

Ceres could have further extended the lead with the next two minutes but Mike Ott’s attempt just grazed the post and out with Tripulca probably getting a hand for a crucial deflection.

In the 89th minute, Ceres-Negros made it a sure win for the night as Bienvenido Maranon scored his second goal of the match with a firm and low strike to make it four goals to one in the end and register his 15th conversion for the season in the league.

The result is a fitting one and something to cheer more for their home fans as they were awarded the PFL trophy for the second successive season with a ruthless showing of consistency and dominance throughout the competition’s duration.

In the other match held earlier in Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Kaya Iloilo ended their league season with a narrow win against Global Cebu with Jovin Bedic scoring the solitary goal in the 86th minute.

 


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