Ceres pips Vietnam XI in AFC Cup group elims
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon netting a hat trick, Ceres Negros roared to a 3-1 victory over Becamex Binh Duong to stay on top of Group G in the AFC Cup Wednesday night at Gu Dau Stadium in Thu Dau Mot, Vietnam.

Maranon did what he does best, firing the opener in the 26th then blasting the go-ahead and insurance goals in the 74th and 78th to power the Busmen to their second straight win.

“I’m very proud of them because they did everything good and they fought it out,” said Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic, whose wards somehow made up for their bland showing in their previous 3-2 squeaker over Myanmar’s Shan United over in Bacolod.

“It was very hard especially since we’re still in the pre-season (in the Philippines) and we only start competition in two weeks’ time. But ever the professionals, the team soldiered on.”

Maranon put the Phl champ on the board when he dispossesed keeper Bui Tan Truong – who thought there was an offside call on Ceres – and slammed the ball into an empty net.

Becamex’s Wander Luiz sent the game back to square one with an acrobatic shot off an assist from Veniamin Shumeyko in the 72nd but the Busmen wrested control just two minutes later with Maranon sending home a right-footer from the six-yard box off a Stephan Schrock delivery. The Spanish gunner iced it four minutes later with a strike from the center off an OJ Porteria assist.

Ceres maintained its hold of the Group G lead with six points, two adrift Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta (four points), which picked up maximum points via a 3-1 drubbing of Shan over in Yangon.

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