Two Philippine football teams on Tuesday asserted their dominance over their Singaporean counterparts in the group stage of the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in separate games in Bacolod City (Negros Occidental) and in the Lion City.
The match in Bacolod City was delayed for almost an hour by a sudden downpour but the interruption apparently failed to dampen Ceres-La Salle FC from dumping Singaporean side Tampines Rovers, 2-1, at the Panaad Stadium.
Another Philippine team, Kaya FC, made it a double celebration for the country when it overwhelmed another Lion City squad, Balestier Khalsa, 3-0, at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Kaya also beat Balestier, 1-0, last month on Antonio Ugarte’s goal in the second half at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
The win catapulted Kaya to the top of Group F.
A penalty kick from Ceres-La Salle’s Bienvenido Maranon in the 21st minute got the game going just as when the weather was beginning to clear, giving the Filipinos their first victory at home.
Just before the end of the first half, Maranon’s teammate Adrian Gallardo slotted in the second goal off another penalty for the Philippine eleven, netting him his fifth goal in the 2016 AFC Cup.
Gallardo was also behind the equalizer in its 1-1 draw against the Rovers also last month.
The win against Singapore before an ecstatic crowd that braved to stay on despite the rain catapulted Ceres-La Salle to top of Group E in what is considered Asia’s premier club tournament.
Showing signs of frustration early into the start of the second half of the much-awaited clash, the visitors came alive with a goal from Billy Mehmet after more than 60 minutes of play.
The local team, a recent winner over Kaya FC also on penalties, 8-7, in the United Football League (UFL) Cup, still has two more games to play in its group.