By Xy-Zha Cabanlong
MANILA, Philippines - Ceres-Negros FC began its AFC Cup rally on a high note following a 4-0 victory over Cambodian club Svay Rieng FC, Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Bienvenido Marañon completed a brace at the second half to push the home side squad further after missing his chance to find the back of the net in the 43rd minute.
Takashi Odawara netted the first goal of the match on the 12th minute, plastering the momentum for the Busmen, which Robert Lopez-Mendy kick-started but misfired in the 3rd and 7th minutes, respectively.
Josh Grommen then followed through with a highly-contested second goal of the night in the 14th minute, in which the opponents complained that it was a handball.
"Conceding 4 goals is not very good. [We were down] 2-nil off a handball, he [Grommen] got his hands on the ball and rules of the game states that handball merits a yellow card. A deliberate handball is also a yellow card [and he didn't get any]," said Svay Rieng FC Coach Conor Nestor.
Ten minutes later, Grommen gave up a penalty that sent Thiago dos Santos at the box for a free shot.
Dos Santos could have made it 2-1 in the 23rd minute but his shot fell straight unto the hands of Roland Müller.
"I think we deserve the win tonight," said Ceres-Negros coach Risto Vidakovic.
The Ceres gaffer gave credit to the hardwork of all his players for the victory but also applaud the efforts of returnee Manuel Ott, who started the game for the Busmen and is playing his first game coming off an injury.
"I say it again, Manu [Ott] is one of the best, if not the best midfielder in the region and we are so happy to have him back in the team."
More than the hardwork of each players of the team, Vidakovic thought that it is the familiarity of the players with each othee had been the key in winning their first game in the competition.
"Even the new ones are not really new because they [Grommen and Ott] used to play for the team, so they already know the team's style of play," Vidakovic added.
Marañon, who scored the goals in the 55th and 70th minute was named as the man of the match, but claimed that it is the team effort that earned them the 3 points on the table.
"This is not just about me. I'm happy that we all worked together as a team to win the game tonight," Marañon said.
Vietnamese club Than Quang Ninh will be the next visitor of the Busmen at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Feb. 25.
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