Ceres-Negros FC continued its winning run after defeating Philippine Air Force FC 3-0 last August 17 at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa City. Super, Dylan De Bruycker, and Robert Lopez Mendy all found the back of the net for the Busmen.
The Negros squad piled the pressure early but couldnt find the target in the first ten minutes. Chances from Super, Takashi Odawara, Angelo Marasigan and Bienvenido Maranon were all found begging.
Mike Ott had the best chance in the 12th minute with a header which keeper Mark Mendome swung into the goal but the referees didn’t see much from the play. Super opened the scoring minutes later after he redirected a Maranon free kick to the back of the net.
New signing Joel Okono broke the defensive line in the 24th minute but centerback Joshua Dutosme clipped the striker just outside the box and earned a yellow. Romeo Martinez stepped up and hit a wonderful for kick which hit the face of goal before it was cleared to safety.
It was in the 34th minute when Ceres-Negros doubled the lead when De Bruycker floated the ball to the top corner. The Airmen had a good shot on goal but Ronald Batisla-ong was tamed by Ronilo Bayan.
The Airforce keeper had his own save in the 40th minute which was followed by an Okono strike which went wide. Lopez Mendy drove in dangerously to the Air Force box before his attack was stopped by the defense.
Herrera would head the ball wide in final minute followed by a shot by Odawara on a breakaway that was blocked by a foot save by Mendome. The half would finish with the away squad having the two goal advantage.
The busmen came out strong in the second half with Lopez Mendy’s early chance but his uncontested chip went over the bar. Batisla-ong would have another crack on goal for the Airmen but his attempt was contained by Bayan.
The Busmen were rewarded at the hour mark after Lopez Mendy won the the ball back inside the box before shooting to the bottom corner to make it 3-0. He almost made it a brace five minutes later but his header goes wide.
Coach Risto Vidakovic would make two consecutive changes midway in the half with the return of Dennis Villanueva from injury and a debut of new signing James Younghusband.
Maranon had a good chance fifteen minutes from time with a shot after a series of fakes but Mendome does well for the save. The Spaniard would later on set-up De Bruycker but the young player can only shoot wide.
Ott almost scored in the 79th after he broke the trap but twin saves from the keeper kept the score intact. Substitute Nick Ferrer almost put the Ceres-Negros defensive line in blushes but a superb chase down and tackle from Super secured the clean sheet.
Odawara had the final chance with a shot on target but the ball went straight to the Air Force keeper. The match would finish 3-0 for the Negros squad who secured its 11th straight win.
“Its very hard to motivate the team for these kind of games,” said Coach Vidakovic. “The team played serious until we scored the third (goal) and we stopped a little bit (after that).”
Ceres-Negros will next face Mendiola FC on August 21 for their fifth league game this month. The match will also be played at the Aboitiz Pitch.
In the earlier game, it was scorching with the heat biting down on the players, and match officials on the pitch. But the conditions did not stop the players from charging at their opponents from the start. The Philippines turned in some fine moves and somewhat rattled the Malaysians. But the Malaysians held their ground and launched into attacks when they had a chance.
With the half all but over, and the players set to get out of the sun, the Philippines pushed up and earned the opening goal of the tournament. A deft tap over the keeper struck the bar and dropped into the path of Kathleen Camille Rodriguez who easily slipped it in.
The Philippines were on their feet again when they added a second off a set-piece in the 51st minute. Defender Claire Elisabeth Lim floated in a high cross to the far post where Hali Moriah Candido headed over Malaysian keeper Nurul Azurin Mazlan. In an almost similar set-piece, nine minutes later, Claire, from a freekick, lifted the ball deep into the box. Nurul tried to grab it but the ball came off her and into the path of Kathleen to tap in.
“It was a good start for us, we are happy with the result of the game. Although during the first 15 minutes we struggled because of the pressure from Malaysia, after that we controlled the game. We had a lot of attacking, had many chances but did not capitalise,” Dimzon Marnelli Salvador, the Philippines head coach said.
Malaysian coach Jacob MJ Joseph said his girls had chances early on but did not score. “The first 20 minutes, we played well and had two or three chances but did not make use of them. We gave them a lot of space and did not close them down.”
The Philippine Women’s National Team will compete in the AFF Women’s Championship 2019 to be held in Chonburi, Thailand from 15-27 August 2019.
The Philippines is drawn to Group A joined by hosts Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Timor-Leste.
The team conducted their closed camp at Moro Lorenzo Football Field inside the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City. In the build-up to the competition, the Philippines faced Macau Women’s National Team in an international friendly match last 3 August 2019 at PFF National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite. The Philippines won that match, 11-0.
The head coach is Marnelli Dimzon. She is assisted by Gerald Orcullo and goalkeeping coach Melo Sabacan. The tournament is part of the team’s preparation for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games to be held in Manila this November 2019
The team is supported by both Philippine Sports Commission and MVP Sports Foundation.
23 players form the final squad of the tournament bannered by players from the various University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) universities and PFF Women’s League clubs.
“The Philippine Women’s National Team has continuously set the bar in the recent times,” said PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “We wish them luck as they look for a podium finish in the AFF Women’s Championship 2019 which serves as preview for the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games.”