Busmen bog down, draw with Miners

OJ Porteria wheels off in delight after netting in the 62nd minute. Photo credit - Ceres Negros FC

It was another famous night under the lights at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, but the 5,078-strong crowd and the eleven men in yellow in black have got to be rueing the missed opportunity to take a stranglehold of Group G as they end up all square with the visiting Than Quang Ninh FC 2-2.

The Busmen weren’t remiss in their efforts, attacking from the start, with Stephan Schrock creating several attacking opportunities from the left side but an organized defense from the Vietnamese saw them keep the Philippine champions at bay. The Miners drew first blood in the 24th minute, having won several corners and set-pieces; however, their strike came on the break as Jeremie Lynch strode past an overly open Ceres backline after a through-ball from Nguyen Hai Huy to put them ahead. Spurred into life, Ceres kept pushing, initially to no avail until the very end of the first half. Bienvenido Marañon had a shot saved after a beautiful ball found him in the box, but he was able to win and convert a penalty on the secondary movement with the very last kick of the half to send the sides equal after 45.

In the second half, Ceres pushed aggressively for the go-ahead goal once play resumed, controlling the tempo and camping out in the Quang Ninh box, being repulsed on several occasions. However, with the Miners defense seemingly getting more ragged, the breakthrough was always near, and it came in the 62nd minute as OJ Porteria cut across the box and hit the bottom corner to make it 2-1. Spurred on, Ceres pushed for the killer 3rd goal, but after a double-switch from Quang Ninh, the tables turned once again and the Vietnamese side knotted it up; a goal-mouth scramble after a corner ended up going the visitors’ way, Nguyen Hai Huy poking it into the net in the 70th minute. With 20 minutes to go Ceres threw everything at Quang Ninh to get that third goal to no avail, and the clock ticked down until the end with the score as it was, and with the two points dropped.

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