Four goals from Adrian Gallardo and a late addition from Lee Jeong Woo capped off another splendid offensive showcase from runaway United Football League (UFL) league leaders Ceres-La Salle FC to administer another beating to the skidding Pachanga-Diliman FC on Tuesday evening at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
The first half began with the men from Bacolod piling on the pressure, while Pachanga-Diliman tried to prevent the opposing team from scoring. Pachanga-Diliman’s efforts were for naught as Ceres forward Gallardo was fouled in their attacking third. The foul proved to be Ceres’ ticket to their first goal. The awarded free-kick was deflected out for a corner, which Bienvenido Marañon used to easily locate Gallardo inside the box. With no Pachanga player near him, the striker from Cadiz tapped in the ball to break the deadlock.
In the succeeding minutes, the Negrense team continued to threaten Pachanga-Diliman goalkeeper Steve Yambou with their aggressive offense. At the 27th minute, Ceres was finally able to break through Pachanga’s defense again. This time around, Jeffrey Christiaens was able to receive the ball inside the penalty box and easily directed it into the net. The Azkal did not celebrate after the linesman determined that he was offside. Despite the call, Ceres’ determination to get their second goal did not waver and at the 33rd minute was finally able to tally. Marañon decided to pass the ball to compatriot Gallardo, who was able to turn and free himself to send the ball past Yambou.
Five minutes after, it was Pachanga who had their own opportunity to score courtesy of a long Jinggoy Valmayor shot that went over the bar. Instead of galvanizing momentum for them to get back into the match, it led to a defining moment in favor of Ceres. Goalkeeper Eduard Sacapaño took advantage of the momentary lapse in defense of the eighth seeded team by sending his goal kick to the right where Marvin Angeles was left with acres of space. He then drilled in a low cross to Gallardo whose next touch allowed him to complete his hattrick. Ceres’ offensive attacks did not falter after that, but the men in white prevented further damage to end the half down by just three.
The pace and momentum stayed with Ceres in the second half. Just two minutes after the restart, Gallardo, Christiaens and Nathaniel Burkey were able to cause problems for Pachanga’s defense but their shots were either deflected by Yambou or sent wide. The sustained dominance of the leading team produced one more goal at the 58th minute. At that instance, Marañon once again connected with Gallardo before the latter notched his fourth with a cheeky shot into the onion bag.
Hopeful of gaining at least a consolation goal, Pachanga, was able to scare Sacapaño with a three-man play at the 68th minute mark. The play began when Valmayor obtained possession in the attacking third. He then found Stephen Permanes who was aware of Daniel Gadia’s presence on his left. As a result, the midfielder unselfishly opted to pass the ball to Gadia who took no time in taking the shot. Unfortunately, his rushed attempt skimmed over the bar. After their rare attacking display, Pachanga had to endure another bombardment by Ceres. Contrary to the trend from the previous half, the eighth placed club was able to hold their ground. A gallant example came six minutes before the final whistle when Reuben Silitonga headed away a shot from Burkey. The team coached by Francis Liza held their ground resolutely but were defied anew in the dying seconds of the game, With only Yambou between him and the goal, substitute Lee clinically slotted the ball to complete a 5-0 rout from the league leaders.
Ceres Head Coach Ali Go commended his boys for their unrelenting performance. ”..they played good in the first half, 3-0, it could have been four or five, but you can’t get a lot of motivations if the opponents are all defending. All in all, it was a good game for us,” he said. His team will now prepare for their next match against Green Archers United on July 15. Meanwhile, Pachanga will face action on July 19 against fellow strugglers Team Socceroo FC.