Two quickfire goals from Adrian Gallardo handed Ceres La Salle a 2-0 away victory over 10-man Sheikh Jamal of Bangladesh in their AFC Cup clash on Tuesday.
The Philippine champions now lie in second place in Group E on four points, two behind leaders Tampines Rovers, while Sheikh Jamal are still searching for their first point of the campaign.
The hosts started brightly enough, enjoying their fair share of possession in the opening stages, but Gallardo would seize the initiative for his side in the 25th minute.
The Spaniard collected a pass from Stephan Schrock before firing a shot into the left-hand corner, beating goalkeeper Shahidul Alam, who managed to get a hand to the ball in vain.
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Gallardo wasn’t done yet either, and just four minutes later he had bagged his brace and doubled his side’s advantage. Shrock again provided the assist, allowing Gallardo to produce the clinical finish.
Sheikh Jamal had their chances to get back in the game. A long range effort from Landing Darboe hit the right post, while Darboe was also denied by a fantastic reflex save from Ceres goalkeeper Louie Casas shortly after.
Casas was also on hand to deny Wedson Anselm from pointblank range in the second half, and Bienvenido Maranon also had a shot blocked at the other end for Ceres.
With 14 minutes to go, centre-back Yeasin Khan reeceived his second yellow card, reducing Sheikh Jamal to 10 men and snuffing out any hope of a late fightback.