Ceres-Negros and JPV Marikina battled to a full-ninety which ended in a 1-1 draw last June 2 at the Binan Football Stadium. Ryuki Kozawa and Patrick Reichelt were the goalscorers while JPV goalkeeper Felipe Tripulca was man of the match.
The match was even in the first half as both teams were on a tight midfield battle with Marikina pressing their visitors early.
The first chance came from a Stephan Schrock free kick which was handled well by Tripulca in the 22nd minute. Allen Angeles released a shot while challenged by a defender on the break but Toni Doblas was on the other end for the save.
Takumi Uesato had the best chance to get ahead in the 38th minute after Schrock recovered well to send the ball to the open striker. The ball was struck well but rattled the crossbar after getting a slight deflection in its path. The referee blew the whistle with both teams scoreless at halftime.
Things shifted in the second half with both teams pushing for the winner. Uesato hit the side netting in the 51st concluding a Ceres counterattack. Reichelt beat his defender to set-up an one-on-one but Tripulca came out in time to foil the attack
Minutes later, JPV’s Kozawa had an initial shot block before forcing Doblas into a fine save in the 52nd. He wouldn’t be denied later on when he outpaced his marker to slot the ball to the far post for the opening goal.
Ceres chased for an equalizer which saw chances from Schrock and the Ott brother’s covered well by JPV defense after the hour mark. Kennedy Uzoka tried to shoot from a distance, minutes later, but his attempt was palmed out by the keeper.
Manny Ott release Schrock on the wings before the attacker passed to an unmarked Reichelt. Tripulca however had other ideas as he blocked the chance from the Ceres veteran.
Another Ott ball to Schrock allowed the attacker to dink the ball past Tripulca but the JPV defense were fortunate enough to clear the ball that was on its way to the back of the net.
Ceres’ persistence was rewarded in the 70th minute after a clearance found its way to Joshua Dutosme who sent the ball back in the box and found Reichelt for a free header. This time, the winger made no mistake for the equalizer.
With momentum on their backs, Ceres-Negros fought for a winner in the remaining minutes with JPV fighting hard in defense.
Manny Ott worked his way for a better shot in the box but Tripulca blocked well with the follow up attempt cleared by the defense.
Uesato had a glorious chance in the 75th with his left footed shot towards the top corner but the keeper was in fine form for the save. The second-choice keeper of the the squad had another save moments later off a Reichelt header from a corner.
The action came into a standstill when Manny Ott was stretchered off the stadium while grimacing in pain. The national standout was hit by a wayward elbow from a throw-in which then forced him to walk out of play.
The match continued on aiming to get a winner, but the final whistle blew putting the result to a draw.
Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic was in no mood to talk about the match after losing one of his key players in a highly physical match.
“Football is not so important (right now) because nobody protects all the players. Nobody cares. Today one player is in hospital and were really worried (with) what’s going on. I’m sorry I cannot talk about football in this situation. Football is second place now,” said the Ceres mentor.
Ceres-Negros improved to 25 points with their first draw after 10 matches. They now lead Kaya by only three points after the Iloilo squad earned a win over Davao plus a forfeiture was awared in their home match versus Global.
The Busmen will face the Aguilas at home on June 6 before crossing over to Iloilo to play Kaya on the 9th.