Ceres upsets Global to gatecrash championship semis
MANILA, Philippines – Giant-killer Ceres pulled off another shocker as it marched on to the semifinals of the Philippine Football Federation-Smart National Club Championship on Saturday with a 1-nil win over United Football League champion Global at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
After beating UFL Cup champion Stallion in a similar scoreline, the Bacolod-based Ceres came into the quarterfinals with the bravado it needed to topple another champion. And win they did anew.
English striker Peter Long connected in the 12th minute then Ceres weathered the storm put up by the UFL champions in the second half to escape with the close victory.
Stung by that Long's first half goal, Global came out the aggressor after the break and looked to turn the table around in the second half. But the equalizer came begging as Ceres keeper Hyoun Jae-Jun played a solid game against waves after waves of attack by the vanquished champion in a furious finish.
Global, who played without Azkals mainstays Misagh Bahadoran, Denis Wolf and Demit Omphroy, had several chances in the second half but the Korean keeper of the Visayan club was up to the task.
Ceres, the only non-UFL team remaining in the tournament, will face the winner of the Kaya-Loyola Meralco Sparks, which is being played as of this posting, in the knockout semis next weekend.