Ceres-Negros FC put up a convincing team performance en-route to a 4-0 win against Cambodian champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC in the AFC Cup 2020 group stage opener last February 11, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Visitors Svay Rieng employed a high tempo from the get-go forcing Ceres-Negros to match the same intensity. The end-to-end dynamics provided Robert Lopez Mendy with an opportunity to test the opposing goalkeeper unleashing from distance in the fourth minute, only to miss the target.
In the eighth minute, Lopez Mendy once again was given a chance this time in a much better position to shoot inside the box but his attempt was so wayward.
Right in the 13th minute, Ceres-Negros finally got the breakthrough with Takashi Odawara’s low shot from the edge of the box finding the back of the net near the far post to put the hosts in front well within the first quarter of an hour.
A minute later and it was two goals up for the busmen as another goal was scored with Josh Grommen slotting in Stephan Schrock’s delivery to put the hosts at a much better situation.
Ceres-Negros were a bit on the upper-hand for the most part until the 22nd minute when a penalty was called against the hosts as Josh Grommen has been adjudged to have committed an infraction inside the box. However, Svay Rieng failed to capitalize from the spot as Ceres keeper Roland Muller produced a fine save to deny Thiago Dos Santos and maintain the two-goal difference.
Despite the bright start for the Filipino side, Cambodian champions Svay Rieng continued to be dangerous with their pacy approach to the game, especially on the counterattack.
But the early goals proved enough as the first half concluded with the busmen firmly in control heading into the break.
Ten minutes after the restart, Ceres-Negros once again found the back of the net for the third time after a slick linkup play found Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon at an angle who was still able to squeeze the ball past goalkeeper Aim Sovannarath.
Around the hour mark and the moments after, Svay Rieng had some good spells on their own, but with the half-chances presented to them, coach Risto Vidakovic’s men were equal to those as the breakthrough was hard to come by for the visitors.
At the stroke of the 70th minute, Maranon once again found the back of the net after a well-worked effort from OJ Porteria to carve the opening and lay-off a pass for his teammate to convert and put the tie virtually out of reach for the visitors.
Ceres-Negros will next face Vietnamese club Thanh Quang Ninh at Rizal Memorial Stadium on February 25, at 7:30 PM.
Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC