As expected, second-running Ceres-La Salle FC gifted new Head Coach Risto Vidakovic his first win in the 2016 United Football League in dominant fashion, an 11-0 rout of Forza FC, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The reigning champions pressed early on as 10-men Forza sat back on their own half of the pitch. Several shots went begging for Ceres as opposing keeper Abu Ibrahim had his hands full to parry the attempts.
The inevitable opening goal, however, happened at the sixth minute. Orman Okunaiya finished off a cross inside the box for the go-ahead.
Forza tried to counter attack, but could not get a decent ball forward. The yellow-shirts were there to regain possession as soon as possible.
After numerous missed chances, national team and Ceres midfielder Stephan Schröck doubled the lead for his squad with a lovely solo effort into Forza’s box at the 26th minute.
Three minutes after the Schröck goal, Okunaiya tried to attack from the right wing, but he was called for an offside infraction. The Englishman, however, would not be denied on the following sequence of play to make his mark on the offense.
At the 42nd minute, Schröck received a pass from his fellow goalscorer and the Azkal put the ball at the back of the net from close range once more.
Ceres was not yet done, as in the extended minute of the first half, Manny Ott registered the fourth goal for the yellow-shirts going into the break.
The following period was just too much for Forza as Ceres almost doubled their output in the frame with seven goals.
At the 52nd minute, wing back Jason Sabio joined the scoring spree with a headed finish off a Schröck corner kick. Fellow Azkal Jeffrey Christaens then pushed the lead to 6-0 at the hour mark with another strike.
Three minutes after, Okunaiya finally got his brace with a top-of-the-box cannon that Ibrahim could not stop. This was followed with two more strikes off great passing sequences seven minutes apart.
Kevin Ingreso, who recently plucked his first international goal for the Philippines, also scored for Ceres at the 63rd minute. The substitute tried from long distance and succeeded to open the flood gates for the reigning champions.
Christaens then got his second of the match with a great finish from the right flank, which once again caught the defense napping.
It did not take long for Ceres to get their production to double digits as Ingreso converted his brace as well at the 75th minute; this time the midfielder took it from deep.
Another substitute Marwin Angeles closed out the scoring at the 79th minute with another up close finish to take the final score at 11-0.
Forza took their chance for a late-goal off a breakaway, only Park Kyul failed to outsmart Ed Sacapaño as his shot sailed over the bar.
Vidakovic was happy to get his first win despite the situation. He also believed that the squad is now getting even better.
He shared, “We just improved some things in the Singapore tournament. The team shows that [they] can play very good football, very high level. And if we play high level, we need some time to improve some things that we did. But now, I think the team is on the right way.”
The Serbian mentor said that they will prepare for their next game against Kaya, who like them still has a mathematical chance of getting the title.
Vidakovic emphasized, “We have five games left, all Finals for us because we have to win practically all the games. But, just thinking [first that] the next game is Kaya, so we have to prepare.”
That tussle between the 2016 AFC Cup quarterfinalists Ceres-La Salle FC and Kaya FC happens on Saturday, September 17, 4pm at the same venue. Forza FC takes on Laos FC earlier that day at 1:30pm.