Davao Aguilas reach Copa Alcantara semis at Ceres Negros’ expense

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Davao Aguilas capitalised on a two-goal lead and weathered the storm after conceding a goal and going down to 10-men against Ceres Negros to proceed to the semifinals stage and eliminate their rivals out of contention in the Copa Paulino Alcantara group stage this Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Right from the get-go, Davao Aguilas were the aggressors as they racked up the pressure against Ceres Negros with a few well-crafted offensive plays as De Jong had two promising chances sandwiching a Phil Younghusband freekick within the first six minutes of the proceedings.

Matthew Hartmann joined in the fray with a few chances he initiated as Phil and De Jong continued to be lively up front in the first quarter of an hour.

A minute later, the Aguilas found themselves ahead as Wesley Dos Santos converted Hartmann’s corner kick with a header that squeezed between the near post and Ceres keeper Roland Muller.

It would take a few more moments before Ceres actually were able to carve out some shots on goal but the attempts were not enough to worry goalkeeper Patrick Deyto who made some crucial interventions.

A spell of possession around the 25th minute was enjoyed by The Busmen, but nothing came out of it as the opportunity concluded with a weak attempt by Mike Ott that Deyto was able to easily gather.

Both sides then traded some shots on target after the half hour mark but the attempts did not produce enough danger to trouble both teams’ net-minders.

The match finally settled approaching the 40th minute as chances started to be more of a premium as halftime arrived with Davao enjoying a slim advantage heading into the break.

The second half began with a disastrous play for Ceres as Junior Munoz handled inside the box. Phil Younghusband took the spot kick successfully converting as he guided the ball well and true to the lower right corner of the goal with Muller diving the other way.

Davao seemed to be on the way to getting a massive win with a comfortable two-goal advantage but it wasn’t meant to be as Ceres Negros were able to get a goal back to reduce the deficit.

A pivotal moment came right at the hour mark as Wesley Dos Santos was given his marching orders after being slapped with his second yellow card off an encounter with Blake Powell, who was also booked. The Brazilian centre-back was already handed his first yellow moments before after a challenge against substitute Paul Mulders.

The man advantage that Ceres were presented motivated the Bacolod outfit to try and give their opponents an onslaught with the hopes of overturning the deficit. However, despite the pressure, the Aguilas were able to hold fast and keep hold of their fortress to frustrate the league champions.

In added time it was Davao Aguilas who even came close to restoring the two-goal advantage with Phil Younghusband going one-on-one with Roland Muller but the shot was parried away for a corner.

Time eventually expired as the club from way down south of the nation seized a sure spot to the knockout stage, eliminating Ceres who relinquish the chance of getting the first ever domestic double in the Philippines Football League-era.

Starting Lineups

Photo credit: Futbolera PH