Ceres, Felda settle with scoreless draw

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

Friday, March 17, 2017

Felda United Football Club goalkeeper Mohd Farizal (left) tries to block a scoring attempt from Ceres-Negros Football Club as teammate defender Nor Fazly (right) and Ceres-Negros midfielder Bienvenido Marañon tries to get to the ball. AFC

MANILA – Ceres-Negros Football Club of the Philippines was forced to a scoreless draw by the gritty Felda United Football Club of Malaysia in the 2017 AFC Cup group stage at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

Ceres-Negros goalkeeper Ronald Muller played the hero’s role as he blocked numerous attempts from the Felda United to stay on top of Group G with five points and tie with Vietnam’s Hanoi Football Club.

The Ceres-Negros and the Felda United will once again face off when the AFC Cup resumes action on April 4 at the latter’s home turf in Shah Alam Stadium.

“We knew Felda is a strong team. We struggled a bit … and we didn’t have a goal,” Muller said of Wednesday night’s game. “But I’m very, very happy with 0-0. Next game we’ll look to get all three points.”

Just a week after scoring a 5-0 win over Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, the Ceres-Negros had a hard time in front of the around 8,965 Negrense fans due to the tight defense of the Felda United.

Aside from its tight defense, the Felda United also became the aggressor offensively as it had more attempts to score than the Ceres-Negros, mostly from close range, but Muller was there to defend.

Among the shots Muller blocked are the near-penalty kick conversion by Lucas Cano and another free attempt from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha.

Meanwhile, Global Football Club of the Philippines dropped its first game in the group stage after a 5-0 domination by Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia at the Tan Sri Dato Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

With the defeat, the Global slid to second place in the standings, with six points behind Johor Darul’s seven. Both teams will meet again on April 5 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium./PN