Ceres-La Salle FC finished their first round campaign with mixed results but still maintained pole position after nine games in the UFL First Division.
Playing against the resurgent Global FC, the Bacolod-based team suffered a 2-0 loss last Saturday to cut the winning streak to seven games. The Leyte-affiliated squad had a streak of their own after winning 4-1 against AFC Cup team Yadanarbon FC and dealing Ceres’ first loss in the league.
Global methodically attacked the Ceres backline with speed and agility which eventually led to the goals from Misagh Bahadoran and Mark Hartmann. The speedy players in Bahadoran and Hikaru Minigeshi took advantage of the less pacy Ceres back four to create opportunities for their team to score.
Global’s defense successfully shut down striker Adrian Gallardo and also limiting Ceres’ attacking players from having plenty of major scoring chances in the game. The Dan Palami-backed club eventually figured out what other teams could not solve to keep their title hopes alive.
The busmen bounced back to beat Team Soccerroo 4-0 in their penultimate match for the first half. It took a lot of missed chances and 45 minutes before Orman Okunaiya broke the deadlock in injury time of the first half.
It didnt take long for the La Salle-affiliated squad to double their advantage after Nate Burkey was brought down in the box a minute after the restart. Patrick Reichelt secured to penalty to secure the 2-0 lead.
Team Soccerroo, who lost by a 1-10 scoreline in their last game against global, allowed its third goal after a great team sequence twenty minutes from time. Substitute Lemuel ‘Dapal’ Unabia scored his first goal in the league when he finished a Patrick Reichelt assist.
In the 80th minute, Ceres scored their fourth goal to make it 4-0. The Bus-men secured their 8thwin in nine games to top the league with 24 points, followed by Stallion with 21, and three other teams with 19 points.
Also See: 2015 UFL BIG 5 League Table
The All Stars
Most of the team will be playing in this years UFL All Star Weekend having great representation in both games. Ceres stalwarts in Dapal Unabia, Jayson Panhay, Camelo Tacusalme, J Baguioro, Jalsor Soriano, Dodz Pasinabo, and skipper Ed Sacapano will be representing the Negros Occidental squad while assitant coach Jason Cordova will represt Iloilo. Ceres assistant manager James Dinsay will be calling the shots for the Bacolod side.
Juani Guirado, Martin Steuble, Manny Ott, and Louis Michael Casas will be the representatives for the Philippine Squad while Gallardo, Okunaiya, Sang Min Kim, Yong Chan Son, and Val Kama will be part of the International Team. Team Manager Ali Go will be at the helm of the Pinoy squad. The games will be in April 25 (Saturday) 5 PM at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The team is looking to add a few pieces in the current transfer window to help them solidify their hold on the league. They will now focus on the UFL Cup Group stages which will start at the end of April and will last for a month while League action will resume on May 30 and will last till the end of August together with the Cup Final. The UFL arms race has already started but Ceres will still be aiming to win the league at season’s end.