Stephan Shrock buried the match-winner in the closing minutes as Ceres Negros FC downed Kaya FC-Makati, 1-0, in the first leg of their Finals Series faceoff in the Philippines Football League (PFL) on Sunday at the University of Makati Football Stadium.
Former Azkals stalwart Shrock beat three defenders before firing the lone goal deep in the injury time as the Yellow Busmen drew first blood in the semifinals.
“I’m happy to give the team the winner because they deserve it under such (difficult) circumstances,” said Shrock, who was named as Man of the Match.
“I can’t really remember what happened. I just knew I had one thing left in the final minute so I got the ball and took it,” added the Fil-German booter.
Ceres Negros also kept a triumphant record against Kaya Makati in their five encounters so far, winning four games and settling for a draw.
Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida was left frustrated with the result as he believed that his Lions did their all only to see their effort go to waste.
“It’s really frustrating. For the whole 90 minutes, I don’t think we allowed them to settle for even a short amount of time,” lamented Marcaida.
Following a goalless affair in the opening 45 minutes, both sides came up with dangerous scoring chances in the second half.
Carli De Murga almost netted a goal for Ceres but the midfielder’s looper off a free kick by Kevin Ingreso bounced off the crossbar.
Minutes later, Kaya striker Jordan Mintah split two defenders near the baseline but his strong shot also got denied by the woodwork.
With the match looking to end up in a scoreless stalemate, Shrock weaved his football magic in the 92nd minute.
Running on the left flank, the veteran midfielder evaded Marwin Angeles, sliced through the defense of Janrick Soriano and Alfreid Osei then launched a shot from the edge of the box that went past goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma.
Shrock handed Ceres a crucial away goal advantage heading into the return leg on December 10 at their home pitch Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.