CERES Negros FC took the inaugural Philippines Football League (PFL) crown at home after a convincing 4-1 victory over Global Cebu FC in what was dubbed as the “Visayas Classico” last night at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
It was nowhere near both teams’ previous four encounters in the league, which were very close.
The finals match was more or less determined after 45 minutes of action, and Ceres had a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime.
Ceres immediately took a 1-0 lead in just four minutes with a goal by Spanish midfielder Bienve Maranon from an assist by Iain Ramsay.
Paolo Salenga attempted a header from a free kick by Hikaru Minegishi but it was off.
Ramsay hit the first goal of his hat-trick in the 20th minute from a pass by Stephan Schrock. He scored his second goal after hitting another eight minutes later.
Salenga tried to cut down the lead and had two opportunites to do it before halftime. One went wide while the other was caught by Ceres goalkeeper Roland Muller.
Ramsay, who was in top form, picked up from where he left off in the first half and completed his hat-trick in the 61st minute.
OJ Porteria, who came in for Patrick Reichelt, had a perfect opportunity for Ceres’ fifth goal but it was foiled by Global goalie Patrick Deyto.
Darryl Roberts finally gave Global its first goal in the 88th minute but it came a little bit too late.
Global’s magic finally ended after impressive come-from-behind performances in both legs of the semifinals against FC Meralco Manila.
With the win, Ceres earned an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League slot. Both side are also playing next year in the AFC Cup.
FC Meralco Manila, on the other hand, finished at third place with a 3-1 victory over Kaya FC-Makati the other night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. (EKA)