MANILA, Philippines - Ceres-La Salle Bacolod banked on Jin Ho Kim’s penalty shot as it eked out a 2-1 victory over Manila Jeepney to firm up its hold of the solo lead in the second division of the United Football League at the Emperador Stadium at the Emperador Stadium Tuesday night.
Coming off a scoreless first half game, Yong Chan Son scored on a free kick to give Ceres the lead but Sean Iliff, fed by new addition Mikko Mabanag headed into Masood Shadideh, who drilled in the header to tie the count while triggering a celebration following a sensational team play.
But it didn’t last long as another new recruit Jaham Taher gave up a penalty after he brought down Ceres’ Kevin Capolei in the box, allowing Jin to convert the spot kick for the match-sealing goal.
The win thus hiked Ceres total to 20 match points, leaving Kaya-sponsored Manila Jeepney, Forza, Manila All-Japan and Laos FC four points behind in a four-way logjam at second with 15 apiece.
“It was a very good win, it was a hard-fought game and Manila Jeepney played really good,” said Ceres coach Ali Go. “I think we’re starting to gel as a team coming in but we still need to finish our chances so the game will be open.”
The match also saw the return of former Azkals star Carli de Murga from a career-threatening knee injury with the 25-year-old central midfielder dishing out an impressive game.
“So happy to be back on the pitch, it was a long time without football and I was getting jealous watching my teammates, it’s really nice to be back,” said de Murga.
Earlier, Nomads relied on a brace from Jamal Lord as it turned back Air Force, 2-1, to remain in the title hunt with 13 points.