A brace from striker Adrian Gallardo sealed an emphatic first victory for Ceres-La Salle FC over Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club of Bangladesh in the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup on Wednesday.
Gallardo’s first goal swept past the Bangladeshi goalkeeper in the 25th minute to give his Bacolod City-based team the lead in the Tier 2 football tournament among Asian clubs at Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka.
A sparse mostly local crowd had barely recovered from their disappointment with Gallardo’s goal when the striker hammered another smasher in the 28th minute.
The score remained the same until the second half, with the host team failing twice in its decent attempts to catch up with the visitors, the reigning United Football League (UFL) champions back home.
Effectively thwarting the Bangladeshi shotmakers was Filipino goalkeeper Michael Casas, who otherwise was untroubled throughout the game.
Last week, Ceres-La Salle held Selangor FA of Malaysia to a 2-2 draw in a comeback win at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
Gallardo was again the hero of the match, enabling the host to come back from a 2-1 deficit in the second half with a last-minute equalizer.
His goal resulted from an assist from Philippine Azkals star Stephan Schrock, a Filipino-German fondly called Schrocky by fans and some members of the media.
Schrock, newly signed by Ceres-La Salle, notched the first point for his team in the match against Selangor.
He and Gallardo are only two among the top guns in the star-studded line-up of the Bacolod City-based club.
The others are Juani Guirado (team captain), Manny Ott, Kevin Ingreso, Patrick Reichelt and Paul Mulders.
In its last outing, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi lost, 4-0, to Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, the current group leaders, which hosted the Bangladeshi squad.
The trip to Dacca marked the beginning of a two-game series for Ceres-La Salle.
The Bacolod City-based eleven will be hosted by the Tampines Rovers on March 15.