Defending champions Ceres-La Salle FC carved out a huge win against a strong Stallion FC, 4-1, to clinch the second spot in the ongoing 2016 United Football League action, Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The Busmen put on the pressure early as several chances from the right flank went kept begging. Stephan Schröck, who played at a more central role for this game, had been dangerous on numerous occasions for the yellow-shirts. After Stallion denied those chances, Ceres finally broke the deadlock courtesy of Schröck.
In the 29th minute, Simone Rota inadvertently committed a handball infraction in his attempt to clear the ball. With the wall still under construction, the Ceres midfielder caught opposing keeper Roland Sadia off-guard and quickly fired the ensuing free kick into the net.
Stallion had their chances on the counter-attack, but the attempts from captain Ruben Doctora and Joshua Beloya did not stood a chance against Ceres’ defense and Louie Casas’ able hands.
Ceres relentlessly attacked from the right flank and deservedly got their second goal of the match just before the break. Patrick Reichelt, who was instrumental in the reigning titlists’ several shots on goal, fired one from outside the box. Stallion’s Joshua Groemen misjudged the bounce of the ball as it sailed in for Reichelt and Ceres.
It was a similar story in the second period, and this time the away side got their third just moments from restart. Debuting Kevin Ingreso sent a lovely forward pass to Schröck, who then blasted the ball into the goal for his second of the match.
Stallion, having played on the back foot all match long, just needed a crucial mistake from Ceres to get back into the game. A set piece was welcome and the white-shirts got that opportunity in the 61st minute.
Substitute Bervic Italia found fellow replacement Ashley Flores, but Oladipo Okunaiya stopped the latter and was whistled for the foul. Christian Nana guided an excellent curving free kick into the net, pulling one back for Stallion.
It turned out to be Stallion’s only chance, as Ceres resumed imposing themselves on the game. Once more, after numerous wayward shots and great saves from Sadia, the yellow-shirts put the final nail on the coffin in the 85th minute.
Schröck sealed his monster game on the pitch and completed his hat trick to seal this huge win for Ceres. Reichelt beat his defender and sent a lovely lob to the other goal scorer, who finished with a stunning header past Sadia for the final goal.
Head Coach Ali Go was very much pleased with Ceres’ win. He shared, “We always have meetings out of the games; we have to fix some things. I think, the boys are responding very well.” Go shared that they need to improve their game, because this time the title will not come easily. In the end, the mentor said, “I am happy with the performance, especially in this game. All the game plan we did, they followed with heart.”
Defending champions Ceres-La Salle FC will face Laos FC on July 7, Wednesday, once they return from Singapore Cup. Stallion FC, on their part, look to return on their winning ways against the lowly Pasargad FC next week, July 3 at 4pm.
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