CERES-NEGROS FACES TOUGH TREK IN CROWN RE­TEN­TION BID WITH TOP STRIKER SUS­PENDED

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - SPORTS - @cedelf­p­tINQ By Cedelf P. Tupas

YANGON— Play­ing in sear­ing con­di­tions against a team that re­fused to quit, Ceres-Negros dug deep Wed­nes­day to keep its ti­tle-re­ten­tion bid on track in the AFC Cup Asean zonal phase.

But the task just gets tougher from here for the Bus­men with star striker Bien­venido Marañon ex­pected to miss the two-legged fi­nal against Home United in Au­gust fol­low­ing a straight red card in the sec­ond leg against Myan­mar Na­tional League pow­er­house Yangon United at Thuwunna Sta­dium here.

Yangon beat Ceres, 3-2, in the sec­ond leg after scor­ing two late goals fol­low­ing Marañon’s dis­missal in the 79th minute, but the Ba­colod-based side pre­vailed, 6-5, on the strength of its two-goal vic­tory at Panaad Sta­dium last week.

“We def­i­nitely showed that we can play over our lim­its,” said mid­fielder Manny Ott, who com­bined with Stephan Schrock in scor­ing the equal­izer in the ninth minute. “Ev­ery­one was tired be­cause this was our third match in a week. The con­di­tions were tough, it wasn’t our best game and we know we can do better, but ev­ery­one was fight­ing to get the re­sult.”

In his fourth sea­son with the club, Ceres de­fender Car­lie De Murga said the squad’s char­ac­ter came to the fore in front of a hos­tile crowd and a team that used phys­i­cal­ity to rat­tle them. Yangon scored two goals in the space of four min­utes to move within a goal, be­fore the Bus­men-held on.

“The op­po­nent was push­ing us high and at­tacked us all the time,” said De Murga. “But we were ma­ture enough to suf­fer and that al­lowed us to be in the fi­nals.”

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