Mendiola FC 1991 came back from a two-goal deficit in the first half to hold PFL champions Ceres Negros FC to a 2-2 draw as Group A action of the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara kicked off earlier tonight at the Aboitiz Pitch in Lipa, Batangas.
Fresh from winning their third consecutive league title two weeks ago, the Busmen seemed on track to get a comfortable win despite missing key local players in Stephan Schrock, Roland Muller, Carlie de Murga, Mike Ott, and OJ Porteria.
Forward Robert Lopez Mendy scored the opening goal in the 8th minute for Ceres, getting to the end of a pinpoint cross from midfielder Takeshi Odawara.
The Odawara to Lopez Mendy combination was able to produce a second goal for Ceres in the 31th minute, as Mendiola lost possession in the middle of the park. Odawara got first to an intercepted pass and poked it to the path of Lopez Mendy and strike it past Mendiola goalkeeper Dini Ouattara.
However, Mendiola showed signs of life in the last minutes of the first half and was amply rewarded by scoring a goal, with midfielder Hamed Hajimehdi converting from Nimrod Balabat’s nifty pass in the 45th minute.
The comeback by the boys in red and white was completed in the 64th minute, as Tondo standout Roberto Corsame Jr. outran the whole Ceres backline to pick up Ouattara’s goal kick and tap it over Busmen goalkeeper Jun Badelic to tie the match.