Ceres-La Salle finishes atop Group E behind Gallardo hat trick
Santino Honasan on May 10, 2016 09:17 PM
ON TO THE NEXT ONE. Ceres-La Salle players celebrate after Bienvenido Maranon (7) scored the opening goal, seven minutes into the match. Ceres-La Salle finishes atop Group E after blasting Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi, 5-0 in Bacolod
Adrian Gallardo was the man of the hour, Tuesday night at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, as he scored a hat trick to help Ceres-La Salle blow by Bangladesh's Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, 5-0 to secure the top spot in Group E of the 2016 AFC Cup.
Bienvenido Maranañon opened things early, giving the home team a 1-0 advantage seven minutes in.
A minute later, Gallardo started to work, hitting his first goal of the night off a Patrick Reichelt assist to double the Ceres lead.
The visiting Bangladeshi squad managed to get a handful of shots up, but their finishing was not as on point.
Gallardo, Ceres-La Salle's leading goal scorer continued to dominate in the second frame, scoring off another Reichelt assist in the 56th minute.
Less than ten minutes later, Gallardo completed his hat trick, blasting one more goal in at the 64-minute mark.
Gallardo showed that he could also facilitate, returning the favor and handing on off to Reichelt for the 70th minute finish and the 5-0 cushion.
The visitors had no answer for the black-and-yellow onslaught, as the score stood for the the Ceres win.
"It feels good, I'm really happy because the team has already advanced, and I was able to score three goals." The Spanish striker said after the match.
"We're happy. Everything is history," head coach Franklin Muescan said during the postgame presser. "We're the first team in Philippine football to finish at the top of our group and the first team to advance to the next round."
Having already qualified for the Knockout Stage in their previous match, the win over Sheikh Jamal seals Ceres-La Salle's spot atop Group E, with 12 points.
After a little over a week, the Bacolod-based club heads back home as they open the Knockout Stage on May 24, most likely against Hong Kong's South China AA.