PFL: Visiting Meralco Manila stuns Ceres Negros in Panaad

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 17, 2017 05:01 PM
PFL: Visiting Meralco Manila stuns Ceres Negros in Panaad
(Photo courtesy of Bob Guerrero/FC Meralco Manila)

FC Meralco Manila accomplished something no other visiting club has done all season in the Philippines Football League and AFC Cup this year: take a point in Panaad Stadium.

In fact they collected three thanks to goals by Curt Dizon and Simon Greatwich in a 2-1 win on Wednesday afternoon. Ceres defender Super Herrera scored for the hosts. 

Ceres missed the services of the suspended Manny Ott while Negros talisman Stephan Schröck also failed to suit up due to a family commitment. Meralco exploited the absences and avenged the 7-0 home defeat to Ceres last month in Rizal Memorial. 

Fielding an unchanged starting eleven from Saturday's win against Stallion, the first half was largely cagey, with Ian Lee and Connor Tacagni muffing half-chances. Jake Morallo was offered a gilt-edged chance just before the half with a superb cross from Dizon but his effort skied over the bar.

Ceres replaced an injured Fernando Rodriguez in the half with Patrick Reichelt. But in the 54th it was Manila who broke the ice. Dizon collected a rebound off a shot from the left flank then eased it past Negros goalie Roland Muller to silence the home crowd. 

Dizon nearly doubled the lead five minutes later but his effort sliced across the face of the goal. Moments later Manila keeper Jun Badelic palmed a Kevin Ingreso shot over the crossbar. 

With 18 minutes to go Jinggoy Valmayor came on for Tacagni who tweaked his ankle. The former Negros Occidental u23 champion fed Greatwich, who unleashed a glorious top corner strike to double the lead in the 74th.

With nine minutes to go Herrera nodded past Badelic to cut the lead to one. Ceres sub Carlie De Murga could have leveled in the 86th but he blazed over from close range.

After referee Ariel Montaña blew his whistle, Ceres' eleven match home unbeaten streak in all competitions, dating back to last year, was history. 

Manila retains their leadership of the PFL table on 36 points, eight above Kaya who drew JP Voltes on Wednesday. 

"There's a rich history here in Panaad," said Manila skipper and MOTM Greatwich. "Ceres are strong at home but we stayed strong and dug in. We pushed each other until the 93rd."

"Three games in nine days is not easy," said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic, but this is not an excuse. The opponents played well."

Manila next plays Ilocos on Sunday night in Rizal Memorial. Kickoff is at 7pm. 

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