Meralco Manila leaned on a balanced attack to thump home side Stallion Laguna, 5-1, and score a historic first victory, while Kaya FC Makati held powerhouse Ceres Negros to a 1-1 stalemate in the season opener of the Philippines Football League last Saturday.
Five players found the back of the net for Manila, including the league’s first ever goal scorer in Curt Dizon, as the Big City side flaunted its lethal attack at Binan Football Stadium.
Dizon opened the scoring in the ninth minute, before Ryota Ishikawa equalized for Stallion in the 30th minute.
Meralco’sTahj Minniecon restored the lead in the 36th minute, Milan Nikolic heading home off a set piece two minutes after halftime and James and Phil Younghusband adding a goal each in the second half.
“It’s important for the club to win the first match,” said Meralco coach Aris Caslib. “The players responded well to our game plan and stood up to the challenge.”
Over at University of Makati Stadium, it was the Busmen who took the lead through Iain Ramsay’s finish from a tight angle at the stroke of halftime, but the hosts salvaged the point thanks to Marwin Angeles’ late strike.
Released by Omid Nazari’s well weighted pass, Ramsay beat Zach Banzon with a shot to the bottom corner.
The Busmen thought they had doubled the lead in the 61st minute when Nazari’s free kick looked to have crossed the line after bouncing off the underside of the post.
Ceres was left to rue the opportunity eight minutes later when the substitute Angeles rifled home a shot from close range after the Busmen failed to clear their lines.
Kaya coach Noel Marcaida expressed delight over Angeles’ impact in the match that gifted his side a precious point.
“That one point (against a team like Ceres) is very important to the morale of the team,” said Marcaida. “Marwin was a very influential sub along with Eric (Giganto). They made a big difference.”
Ramsay believes the Busmen showed character in picking up a point just three days after a tough away win against Singapore side Tampines Rovers in the AFC Cup.
“It’s always nice to score a goal but I would have been happy with the three points,” said Ramsay. “But we had a tough schedule and to play today, we had to show character and thats exactly what we did.”