AFC Cup: Ceres-Negros edges Persija, stays unbeaten
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By Kevin Sox
Philippine club Ceres-Negros F.C. stayed undefeated in the on-going group stages of the 2019 AFC Cup after holding off Indonesian counterpart Persija Jakarta, 1-nil on Wednesday at the Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod.
A ninth-minute header converted by Bienvenido Maranon opened the scoring for Ceres Negros, and the early goal proved to be the difference as the home side dodged several attacks from the visitors to preserve the three points in Group G.
The wards of coach Risto Vidakovic had several chances throughout to add to the final scoreline, although they failed to capitalize.
In the 71st minute, Stephan Schrock fired a screamer from outside the box, Andritany Ardhiyasa managed to deflect the attempt in time.
Moments later, Manny Ott fired a ball across but OJ Porteria was unable to make the connection just in front of the goal, a sequence that could have pushed the lead to 2-nil at that point.
In stoppage time, reserve Mahir Karic gained an advantage in the counter-attack but waited too long to pull the trigger against a solo defender. In the rebound, Mike Ott was also denied by Andritany.
Nevertheless, it was Ceres-Negros’ third straight victory as they solidified their hold of the pole position in their group with nine points.
A rematch between the two sides is slated on April 23. Ceres-Negros will wound up their away games with a trip to Yangon on May 1 to face Burmese club Shan United.
After that, they will return home and host Vietnamese side Becamex Binh Duong on May 15.