Sports: Negros-Ceres Posts 7th Win in PFF U23 Visayas Qualifiers
Negros Occidental Football Association manned by Ceres-University of St. La Salle team posted its seventh win in the ongoing Philippine Football Federation-Suzuki Men’s Under 23 Visayas Qualifying Rounds after beating the visiting Iloilo Football Association, 3-2, in the former’s home game played at the Ayala North point pitch in Talisay City last Saturday.
The match was physically and hotly contested which resulted to a brawl among several booters from both squads despite the cool breeze brought by the rain.
Iloilo FA was leading the match, 1-nil on the 28th minute goal from Iloilo’s Christian de Juan.
However, few minutes away from the closure of the first half, an incident happened that caused both teams into mass confrontation as the tournament officials called for the temporary suspension of the game.
The incident ignited when IFA skipper Richard Sumabong attacked and struck NOFA’s striker Gerardo Valmayor III behind his head as the latter player pushed him back.
After seeing the incident, NOFA’s Jimuel Arriola rushed and punched Sumabong from behind that drove Iloilo’s de Juan to attack Arriola.
The game resumed after 15 minutes of temporary suspension to calm down both teams as the officiating officials held a short meeting to review the incident.
After the review, IFA skipper Sumabong and de Juan as well as NOFA’s Valmayor and Arriola were given red cards due to "guilty of violent conduct" and were requested to leave the pitch and their respective benches.
Meanwhile, IFA keeper Gerald Quiros and NOFA’s goalie Robert Mendoza & skipper Jimmy Malalo-an were are given yellow cards due to "guilty of unsporting behavior" just before the referee blows his whistle t end the first half.
In the resumption of the second half, both teams played with less than two players.
Negros-Ceres’ striker Joshua Beloya nailed the host’s first goal in the 56th minute to equalize the match, 1-all.
After several minutes of ball scrimmage, Michael Corner gave Negros-Ceres’ the lead with his goal in the 70th minute but four minutes later, IFA’s Andrew Supeña nailed his team’s second goal in the 74th minute to level the score at 2 goals apiece.
But with five minute left in the game, Bon Joevie Amanquiton stuck Negros-Ceres winning goal in the 85th minute to eventually pull away a victory.
Ceres-La Salle head coach Freddie "Nene" Lazarito explained that after preserving their winning streak, they will continue their preparation against their last home game against Leyte FA on May 28, 2012 at the Panaad Park and Stadium as they aim for their eight win towards the end of this qualifying round.
But above all, what they are also looking forward is the Visayas finals wherein only the Top two teams will be playing for the national finals.
Meanwhile, following the NOFA-IFA brawl last Saturday, Lazarito stressed that as part of the team’s direction towards such incident, he kept telling his players never to retaliate on their opponents. He further explained they never experienced that his players retaliated despite physical assaults but they are well-prepared for the worst.
This tournament is participated by NOFA, NORFA, Leyte FA, Cebu FA, and Iloilo FA will be played in a home-and-away format.*