Before the League started, the clash between the reigning champions Ceres-La Salle FC and former Division II titlists Laos FC was expected to be an interesting affair. However, things changed, and the 2016 AFC Cup quarterfinalists showed their quality when they faced each other, Thursday, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Ceres-La Salle routed Laos FC, 11-0, as Golden Boot frontrunner Adrian Gallardo wrecked havoc after returning from suspension in their last game, with six goals.
Head Coach Ali Go shared that they had planned on using their flanks and attracting the defense, before sending the ball for the attack once they got the advantage, something evident throughout the match.
However, both teams were pretty even at the start of the match. It was even Laos who mounted the first chance to break the deadlock. Patrick Franksson controlled the ball and lost his marker, but the defense denied him a shot at goal.
After this missed chance, Ceres did the honors of breaking the ice via Lee Jeong Woo. In the 11th minute, the Korean midfielder connected with a lovely cross from Patrick Reichelt, and he headed the ball past Jhun Tripulca for the go-ahead goal.
The assister doubled the lead in the 25th minute. In a reversal of roles, Lee flicked the ball over, and Reichelt tapped it into the goal.
Franksson again proved dangerous on the counter attack five minutes later. Nonetheless, Ceres Team Captain and goalkeeper Ed Sacapaño collected the ball just in time to keep the clean sheet going.
Then Gallardo happened. In the 41st minute, Al Hassan Mohammedu committed a handball infraction inside the box, which the Spaniard striker converted for his first goal and put his team 3-0 ahead at the break.
Ceres kept up the pressure in the following period, forcing Laos to commit costly mistakes. The home side surrendered another penalty in the 49th minute as John Lloyd Bastasa fouled Gallardo in the penalty area. The Busmen forward obliged with another great spot kick for his second and his team’s fourth goal of the afternoon.
Nine minutes after, Ceres added another goal, finishing off some patient build-up play. This time, Gallardo took the chance to go closer and sneaked in a shot past Tripulca to complete his hat trick. It did not take long, however, and the game’s top scorer plucked his fourth, finishing off an Oladipo Okunaiya assist.
Gallardo was unstoppable as he scored two more goals in the 71st and 83rd minutes of the match. The eventual Man of the Match followed his coaches’ instructions to the tee and just finished of his team’s exceptional ball distribution in the match.
This passing game also created goals for Carli De Murga in the 73rd minute and Okunaiya at the 81st minute. Stephan Schröck even added a late goal to put the final nail in the coffin.
Head Coach Go shared after the game that they have to dig deep and follow the game plan The mentor added, “If you keep on dribbling, they will catch you, because they are fast also.” He was pleased that the game plan worked, his wards followed and executed it, and clinched this big win.
The much-anticipated clash of the UFL’s representatives to the 2016 AFC Cup – Ceres-La Salle FC and Kaya FC — will happen on July 10, Sunday at 4pm. The League’s two champions will battle in a crucial tiff as we go into the last few games of the first round.
Laos FC, on the other hand, have to regroup fast as they will face Nomads SC, on Saturday, July 9 at 7:30am.