Ceres-Negros FC settled for a 1-1 draw in their opening match with Kaya FC-Makati kast May 6 at the University of Makati Stadium. Iain Ramsay scored the lone goal for Ceres while Marwin Angeles provided the equalizer for Kaya.
The home squad started the action early in the first minute when Jordan Mintah latched on to a corner with his shot going wide. The visitors would get their own chance moments later when Luke Woodland shot was off target after connecting to a Jeffrey Christaens corner. Both squads struggled in the afternoon heat and the subpar pitch which limited the continuity in the action.
Ceres would get some half chances in the 13th and 14th minute but Woodland and Jason De Jong would shoot wide. Ramsay found a way past the Kaya defense in the 18th minute but his tight-angled shot was saved well by goalkeeper Zach Banzon. The LBC-backed squad would there consecutive chances in the 22nd and 23rd minute but Mintak and Kenshiro Daniels couldn’t get much out of their attempts.
Ramsay was again dangerous from the wings in the 38th but his shot was far from goal. Kaya would make it interesting when a lob bounced in front of goal over the crossbar and keeper Louie Michel Casas. It was only in the 44th minute when Omid Nazari’s through ball to allowed the Ceres winger Iain Ramsay to shoot for the opening goal.The half ended with Ceres ahead 1-0.
The Makati squad earned its first attempt in the second half when Robert Lopez-Mendy outran his defender but shot a yard off from the post in the 54th. Alfred Osei would concede a foul on top of the box against Omid Nazari. The Swedish-born striker stepped in for the free kick just after the hour mark and saw his shot hit the underside of the crossbar before bouncing on the ground and out. The Ceres bench was livid as referee Steve Suprecencia waved off all please to count the goal.
In the 68th minute, Marwin Angeles issued a good pass to Ugarte on the flanks who then wipped the ball into the box. Casas would punch the ball to a safer area but Kaya reacted well to have the ball roll to an unmarked Angeles who sealed the equalizer to the delight of the home fans.
The busmen would push for the go-ahead goal in the final twenty minutes but a resolute defense and inspired play from their young keeper kept the visitors at bay. It was in the 3rd minute of injury time when Daniels cleared a Ceres header off the line with the succeeding rebound going wide. Woodland would have a golden chance moments later but his shot at the mouth of goal went over the bar. The match ended with a 1-1 scoreline with both teams sharing a point in their opening match.
The match saw the season debut of Casas, Nazari, and defender Joshua Grommen. Casas captained the squad in his first appearance for Ceres this year. Manuel Herrera, Woodland, and Ramsay also had their local debut. Former Ceres players in Jalsor Soriano, Marwin Angeles, and Jayson Panhay also debuted for the home side.
Ceres now awaits the confirmation of the possible schedule change due to conflict between the PFL games and the AFC Cup ASEAN semifinal on May 17. They will face Malaysian champions Johor Darul Ta’zim in Johor Baru on the said date.