Bienvenido Marañon scored a hat trick as Ceres Negros FC demolished Boeung Ket FC, 4-0, and inched closer to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2018 zonal semifinals on Wednesday night at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Spanish striker Marañon slotted home three assists while Takumi Ueasato capped the unbeaten Yellow Busmen’s dominance that moved them a win away from a return trip to the Asean zone playoffs.
“We controlled the game from the beginning until the end and I think we deserve the result,” said Ceres Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic, who lauded his wards despite misfiring several shots.
“It was a fitting 4-0. We missed a lot of chances but I think my players played a good game today,” added the Serbian tactician.
The defending Asean champion solidified its grip of Group F’s top spot with four wins and a draw for 13 points, three markers clear of Singapore’s Home United FC.
Ceres only needs a draw against Home United in the final match day to secure its place in the zonal final four.
Boeung Ket got eliminated with only three points to show on a lone win against four defeats.
It was another lopsided result between the two clubs as the Philippine titlist pulled off a record-tying 9-0 rout of the Cambodian champ in their first encounter.
The visiting Busmen started aggressive and it paid off when Stephan Shrock beat the offside trap before laying off the ball to Marañon, who converted in the 36th minute.
A minute later, Marañon went for a clinical finish on OJ Porteria’s brilliant assist inside the box. Another nifty pass from Porteria allowed Marañon to complete his hat trick from close range in the 69th.
Uesato wrapped up the blowout victory in the 84th as the Japanese forward eluded two defenders then launched from the top of the box.
Meanwhile, Global Cebu FC battled FLC Than Hóa of Vietnam to a 3-3 draw at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
The game though had no bearing even before it began as Myanmar’s Yangon United already sealed Group G’s top seed with a 3-2 win over Indonesia’s Bali United FC.
Global Cebu bowed out of contention with five points on a 1-2-2 win-draw-loss record. The People’s Club still has chance to close its campaign on a strong note against Bali United.
Thanh Hòa also wound up with five markers and has one remaining game against Yangon United.