Spanish striker Adrian Gallardo scored a hat trick last night as Ceres-La Salle Football Club demolished Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club from Bangladesh, 5-0, to finish on top in Group E of the AFC Cup 2016 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
A tap-in in the 9 th minute following a blast from Bienvenido Marañon a couple of minutes earlier allowed Gallardo to set the tone for Ceres' domination against the visiting Bangladeshi squad.
Gallardo registered his second goal and Ceres' third in the 57 th minute off a pass from Patrick Reichelt. Seven minutes later, he completed the hat trick and registered his 8 th goal in the tournament with the trademark “Adrian strike” as Ceres pulled away, 4-0.
Reichelt sealed the win in the 70 th minute as he sent the ball into the net after receiving a pass from Gallardo.
“We had a good game…we are very happy as we finished on top of the group. We made history as the first Philippine team to advance in the next round,” Ceres head coach Franklin Muescan said.
Everything boils down to how well the team prepared for the tournament as Muescan thanked team owner Leo Rey Yanson for his support during the post-match press conference.
Lack of preparation was the reason why Sheikh Jamal went down nil-5 against Ceres, their head coach Shafiqul Islam Manik said.
Traveling 24 hours from Dhaka to Bacolod City after completing a tournament in Bangladesh took its toll on the players.
“This was the worst match we had after playing six games in the tournament. We are not prepared…the players are tired going out there playing for 90 minutes after travelling for more than 20 hours,” coach Manik added.
The Bangladeshi squad arrived in Bacolod City late Monday afternoon barely 24 hours before the match.
“In this kind of tournament, you need a good preparation and we did not have that. It's not excuse for losing but that is our excuse,” the Sheikh Jamal coach said.
Meanwhile, Ceres will play the knock-out game in the Round of 16 against South China (Hongkong ) on May 24 at the Panaad pitch.
Muescan said among their problems are the accumulated yellow cards and the tight schedule in the UFL League.
“It will be hard four us. We have several games lined up in the UFL before May 24 and need to rest our players,” Muescan said.*NAB