United Football League (UFL) top team Ceres – La Salle FC shook off a rusty start to demolish Pasargad FC, and picked up their opening match victory of the 2015 UFL Cup, 4-0, Saturday, May 2 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The league leaders stepped on the gas from the kickoff whistle. Ceres piled on the attack and had several chances on goal led by national team mainstays Jeffrey Christaens and Marvin Angeles. In the seventh minute, Angeles made an attempt, but the ball was easily gathered by Pasargad goalkeeper Albert Llavares. Three minutes later, however, it was the Division II team who almost got the go-ahead, but the shot was a few inches off.
Ceres continued to press against the Pasargad defense, and in the 17th minute Jayson Panhay found the back of the net to put them on top at 1-0. The Division I leaders almost doubled their score when Panhay found newly-acquired striker, Lee Jeong Woo, but the strikers’ attempt was saved. That did not stop Ceres from keeping their form on the attack, but Llavares kept Pasargad in the game with two brilliant catches.
In the 37th minute, Ceres midfielder Manny Ott was fouled outside the box, but the resulting free kick was deflected. The team, however, hanged tough and stayed on their positions. Two minutes after, Angeles shot an attempt off the dribble and sent it to the back of the net, doubling their advantage at 2-0. Ceres, continued their aggressive play highlighted by attempts from Lee and Nate Burkey that went straight to Llavares’ gloves.
Ceres decided to rest their key players Angeles and Christaens at the half, but the offensive game plan still went on. Just nine minutes into the half, Lee finally scored off a long shot to put his team in a comfortable 3-0 lead. The game’s complexion changed, as the losing team played with better execution during this period. At the 64th minute, Pasargad threatened the winning team with a dangerous cross, but was not received for a clear attempt.
Marwin Angeles, who was subbed in for his twin brother Marvin, provided extra firepower for the league’s topnotchers. The Azkal forward fired shots in the 67th and 72nd minute, which Llavares was once again able to collect. Pasargad tried to counterattack and almost got a goal back with Promise Jolomi on the run, but veteran keeper Edward Sacapaño stood his ground for Ceres. At the 87th minute, Jalsor Soriano provided the final nail to the coffin that pushed the score to 4-0. The match ended with that score line.
After the match, winning coach Ali Go felt that they could have scored more in this match. He attributed this to rust; for the team has not played for almost a week, and had only one training in that span of time. He said that this is just the first game and “hopefully, in the next games we will be sharper in scoring goals.” The Ceres coach also shared that Patrick Reichelt is doing good after having a minor surgery, and he might utilize the winger in their third game of the Cup. He also had good words regarding the debuting Lee’s finishing, but considers the striker’s stamina as something that needs improvement. “[His] finishing is good. I think more movements. I think his stamina is not yet up there with the stamina for Ceres, but we’re working on that,” he said.
Ceres-La Salle FC will hope to continue their winning form on Tuesday, May 5 against Philippine Army. Pasargad on the other hand, will try to bounce back against Green Archer United FC on May 10. Both games will be played at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.