Hat-trick hero Marañon powers Ceres over Becamex
MANILA, Philippines – Ceres-Negros FC striker Bienvienido Marañon starred as the Busmen continued their 2019 AFC Cup campaign with a convincing 3-1 victory against Becamex Binh Duong on Tuesday, March 12, at the Binh Duong Stadium, in Thu Dau Mot, Vietnam.
Becamex goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong had a howler at the 26th minute as he lost focus and allowed Marañon to steal the ball from his feet inside the box. The Filipino forward then smashed the ball from close range to give the Busmen a 1-0 lead heading into the second half.
Wander Luiz equalized at the 72nd with an acrobatic goal as he needed to adjust his kick to meet his teammate's cross.
Marañon answered back with two rapid goals as he finished Stephan Schröck's cross at the 74th minute, then smashed the ball past the goalkeeper at the 78' mark following OJ Porteria's wonderful cut-back.
The Filipinos' latest triumph see them go on top of Group G with 6 points and a +3 goal difference, while Becamex sit at 3rd place, with just a single point from two games.
Persijia Jakarta's win over Shan United FC earlier Tuesday catapults them at 2nd place with 4 points and a +2 goal difference. The latter stays at the bottom of Group G with 0 points.
Ceres kicked off the first half with 3 early chances inside 12 minutes, courtesy of their rapid movement and counter-attacking prowess.
Their first chance came from a free-kick, as team captain Martin Steuble fired the ball over the bar at the 4th minute.
Four minutes later, Porteria whipped in a lovely cross from the right-hand side of the pitch and was met by Marañon, whose header went straight at Tan Truong, Becamex's goalkeeper.
At the 12th minute mark, Stephan Schröck unleashed a deadly ground through ball to Porteria, who quickly passed it to Marañon in the middle of the box, but Tan Truong read the play and immediately intercepted the ball.
Becamex soon had their chance 3 minutes later, but Victor Mansaray's shot just hit the side-netting. Veniamin Shumeyko then received a yellow card at the 17th minute after a crunching tackle on Marañon.
The Philippines-based club had two more chances after scoring the match's first goal, but Tan Truong stood tall and saved the shot attempts of Mike Ott and Marañon.
Ceres keeper Roland Müller was quickly called into action two minutes into the second half as To Van Vu attempted a shot for the equalizer. The goalie alertly repelled the shot and kept the Becamex squad scoreless.
After the series of second half goals, Miguel Tanton came in for Porteria who was stretchered out of the pitch.
Ceres-Negros FC will play their third match of the AFC Cup 2019 versus Persija Jakarta on Wednesday, April 3, at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium, in Bacolod City. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com