Filipino club Ceres La Salle FC demolished Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club of Bangladesh, 5-0, in the final day of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2016 group stage on Tuesday at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod.
High-scoring Spanish striker Adrian Gallardo Valdes, who ended the preliminary round among the top scorers with five goals, registered a hat-trick performance to power Ceres over the Bangladeshi squad.
The Busmen came out determined to display their prowess in front of a home crowd as they quickly took the lead with a goal courtesy of Bienvenido Maranon in the seventh minute.
Not long after, Gallardo Valdes posted his first goal of the night in the ninth minute from an assist by Marwin Angeles from deep inside the box to give Ceres a 2-0 advantage going into the halftime break.
In the second half, the Bacolod booters immediately launched several raids on Sheikh Jamal’s back line.
Gallardo Valdes notched two consecutive goals in the 57th and 64th minutes of the match to extend the Busmen’s edge to 4-0 with less than 30 minutes left in the game.
After several exchanges, national team standout Patrick Reichelt scored the final goal in the 70th minute of the contest off an assist by winger Jeffrey Christiaens.
Ceres capped off its campaign with an unbeaten record of three wins and three draws for a total of 12 points on top of Group E.
The team is set to face the No 2 team in Group G on May 24, in the knockout phase of the continental club championship for developing nations.
In the opening round of the contest, Ceres La Salle elicited a 2-2 draw from Selangor FA before winning against Sheikh Jamal, 2-0, in Dhaka.
Ceres had another draw against Tampines Rovers FC, 1-1, before trouncing the latter, 2-1, at the Jalan Besar Stadium in their second meeting.
In their last overseas game in the AFC Cup 2016 group stage, the Filipino club once again held Selangor to another stalemate at the Selayang Stadium in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Kaya FC finished second in Group F.
Despite failing to secure three points in their last two outings, Kaya FC is already assured of a spot in the round-of-16 with a record of three wins a draw and two losses for a total of 10 points.
Kaya settled for a goal-less draw in its final game against New Radiant SC at the latter’s home turf at the National Football Stadium in Male, Maldives.
They will face AFC Cup defending champion Johor Darul Ta’zim FC of Malaysia in the knockout phase on May 25 at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru.