CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Global Cebu FC edged Ceres-Negros FC, 1-0, before more than 5,000 spectators who flocked to the Cebu City Sports Center to watch Global’s first home game in the ongoing inaugural tournament of the Philippines Football League (PFL).
Matthew Hartmann scored on a volley right outside the penalty box in the 42nd minute of the match on a pass from Amani Aguinaldo, who picked up the ball when it was tapped to the left by Ceres goalkeeper Louie Michael Casas coming from a corner taken by Sasaki Shu.
The man of the match, however, was Global’s goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, who despite limping on the pitch after an aggressive encounter against Manny Ott that left him lying on the pitch for several minutes, stayed on and did not concede any goals.
“Obviously we’re very happy with the clean sheets, it’s been awhile since we had a clean sheet, we’ve been conceding goals lately in the past few games but today we were able to hold on to the last few and we always say that if you don’t concede goals you have a big chance of winning the game," said Deyto.
According to Deyto, he wanted to get off the pitch because he had fallen ill but they did not have a reserved goalkeeper.
Deyto might sit out this Sunday’s game against Stallion Laguna FC to have his left knee scanned.
Global head coach Marjo Allado said that they’re planning to rest Deyto for Sunday’s game.
Deyto was kept busy especially in the second half when Global opted to protect their lone goal and Ceres was given all the chances to attack.
The win allowed Global to close in on second place which is being held by JPV Marikina FC which has 18 points. Global now has 17 points and stays in third place while Ceres drops to fifth place behind Kaya FC-Makati which now has 14 points after outsmarting Stallion Laguna FC, 3-1, in the earlier game of the PFL held at Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna.
“Our target is to win all our games here in Cebu. This is for the fans, not only for Global. But this first game is very important, we’re playing a strong team with quality players so of course the character of Global is not to give up and always win because we beat Ceres many times in Manila also so we don’t want to lose in front of our home crowd,” said Allado.
It wasn’t a good night for Ceres as not only was their goalkeeper, Roland Muller, sent out, but their head coach Risto Vidakovic was also ejected from the game. Muller was given a red card for kicking Sekou Sylla even though he didn’t have ball possession in the first half. In the second half, Vidakovic was sent out for mouthing off to the linesman when Fernando Rodriguez Ortega was called for an offside.
Ceres captain Martin Steuble said that their performance was affected by the condition of the football field which they described as uneven and dangerous for players.
“I think that in both teams there’s so many gifted players, so many talented players but if you let us play on a pitch like this, this is the best we can do,” said Steuble. “I think that we’re building the PFL, and then letting us play on a pitch like this it’s not productive, it’s going against the flow. I think even the Global players are embarrassed to play on a field like this.
“My opinion, games shouldn’t be allowed on this pitch.”
Allado, however, said Global was focusing on the game instead of the field.
“For us Global we focused on the game, not on the field, so both teams played on this kind of field, our intention is to win this game, so whatever they say about the field we don’t care about it,” said Allado.
Ceres assistant coach James Dinsay, however, stopped short of saying that the field was the reason that they lost the game.
“No, it’s not the reason, it’s what we call ‘no one gained from it.’ It was just like lucky because they scored and of course it’s hard already, whoever is lucky that they scored first then it’s good for them but both teams didn’t gain from it,” said Dinsay.
The assistant coach added that the CCSC football field was the worst pitch that they’d played so far in the PFL. Dinsay added that they have written to PFL about it because they don’t want to play here again. They are scheduled to play in Cebu again on July 29.
“We’ve been writing to PFL, because the pitch is unplayable, for me, for all the players. No one is gaining from this game, both teams, you know someone can get injured actually,” said Dinsay.
“We have a lot of talented players, we have Azkal players playing in this pitch. And for me it’s embarrassing given that our players are foreigners, they’re playing AFC, very nice pitch and you’re given with this kind of field, it’s of course, we’re not really happy,” said Dinsay.
Dinsay said that PFL has told them that they will assess the field and they will see how it will go and they’re hoping that they won’t have to play here again.
“Well hopefully not, we are football players, we want to show Philippine football at their best and with this kind of football that we’re seeing right now, it’s all like, we cannot see good flow because the pitch is impossible to play, so we hope that they could fix it or they could go back first to Manila ‘cause we have to show our fans good quality football, for me that’s it,” said Dinsay
Asked what is specifically wrong with the field, Dinsay has this to say, “if you’re really a football player watching it, if you’re there you could see the field is uneven and that’s very dangerous for players.”
The CCSC football field has hosted two international friendlies—the Azkals against Singapore and Malaysia. The AFC President’s Cup was also held here in 2013. Azkal players who have played here before in those events were Global’s Misagh Bahadoran, Deyto, and Paul Mulders, and Ceres’ Stephan Shrock, Carli de Murga and Jason De Jong. No complaints were lodged over the field after those matches.
Both teams, however, were appreciative of the crowd that showed up to watch the game.
“Yeah, honestly, this is the first game that a lot of fans, the stadium is full packed so very happy to see this, of course maybe on the weekend, today is a weekday so maybe on the weekend more and more people will watch the game,” said Allado.
“I heard it is very good for Philippine football. I hope that it will continue but of course with the help of PFL to please, you know let’s fix our field before playing ‘cause it will really help if it is really good quality pitch,” said Dinsay.
Global Cebu FC’s second home game will be on July 9, Sunday, still at 7 pm.
Tickets will still be sold at P200 for VIP, P100 and P20 for general admission. – Rappler.com