|OJ Porteria scored the dagger goal for Ceres Negros. Glen Lopez/Ceres Negros FC|
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
MANILA — Ceres-Negros FC opened their football calendar by beating Shan United, 3-2 in their AFC Champions League preliminary match, Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Staduim.
Robert Lopez-Mendy scored the opening goal of the match with a strike in the 4th minute.
Mendy attempted to make it 2-0 at the 9th minute but the referee deemed it a handball.
Fitness may be an issue for the Busmen ahead of their next game as Manuel "Super" Herrera stumbled on the pitch off a hard tackle on the 35th minute. At the post match presser, Herrera's fitness is one of the concerns that Head Coach Risto Vidakovic raised.
"We have to check on Super because he hurt his finger. We don't know the doctor's findings at the moment," Vidakovic said.
About 7 minutes prior to halftime, Bienvenido Maranon scored the second goal for Ceres, which gave the Filipinos a comfortable edge of 2-0 coming to the break.
At the resumption of play, Mendy could have had a hattrick at the 47th and 48th minutes had it went past the Shan United defenders and their goalkeeper. Maranon and Hikaru Minegeshi also had attempts to score but the defense of the Burmese squad worked well that it kept the Busmen from taking their chances at the goal.
Shan United eventually spoiled Roland Muller's clean sheet as Zin Min Tun was able to find the back of the net at the 72nd minute of the game.
Not bothered by the goal scored by the opposing side, OJ Porteria made sure that he etched his name on the scoresheet and gave the Busmen a 3-1 advantage.
The visitor's defense became tougher as the game went on that even emotions flared up and the referee was forced to issue a yellow card in the 83rd minute of the game, following a commotion involving Shan United's Hein Phyo Win and Ceres skipper Stephan Schrock.
Just before the added time, Maximin Djara breezed through a goal for Shan United that rattled Ceres a bit as their edge narrowed down to a goal.
Hein Phyo Win attempted for the equaliser as the game reached the injury time but his shot went wide and ended up in the hands of Muller.
"Today was a very good game for both teams, we were both aggressive. We were surprised by the first goal because it was very early and I think we were not defending very well in the first half. I believe we played better in the second half," the Burmese gaffer; Aung Naing said at the post-match presser.
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