Ceres La Salle slipped past a gritty Green Archers side, 3-2, Saturday night to tighten its hold of top spot in Group B, while Kaya and Global also reached the knockout stage of the United Football League Cup at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Stephan Schrock sustained his fine form with another goal, while Lee Jeong Woo and Bienvenido Maranon also found the back of the net for Ceres, which endured some anxious moments before picking up three points.
With the victory, Ceres moved within a victory of sweeping Group B. The Bacolod side will face Global FC on Thursday in a virtual battle for the No. 1 seeding heading into the last eight.
Global leaned on a goal each from Arthur Kouassi and Omid Nazari to subdue Loyola Meralco, 2-0, while Kaya dumped JP Voltes, 4-0, for its third straight victory.
Two goals from Robert Lopez Mendy and a goal each from Joven Bedic and Kenshiro Daniels boosted Kaya to nine points from 12 matches for second spot in Group A, behind Stallion.
Schrock opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a brilliant individual effort, but Archers equalized with a well-struck volley from Jimwell Arriola in the 32nd minute.
Ceres regained the lead four minutes later thanks to Lee, who followed up a saved effort with a thunderous shot to the roof of the net.
Coming on for Adrian Gallardo, Maranon gave Ceres an added cushion by directing Jeff Christiaens’ cross to the bottom corner in the 68th minute, but Chieffy Caligdong set the stage for a nervy finish with a well-taken goal 15 minutes from time.
Kouassi’s header off a corner kick put Global in front three minutes before the break against a Loyola side still missing top striker Phil Younghusband.
Just a week after their 4-2 conquest of Archers, the Sparks struggled to carve out chances, before Global found a second goal through Nazari’s precise finish to the bottom corner eight minutes into the second half.
“Its a very satisfying night with the win, the clean sheet and giving some game time to the younger players,” said Global coach Leigh Manson. “We focus on Ceres now and this game sets us up nicely for that match.”
Facing a Voltes side that was missing its top defenders, Kaya took the lead six minutes into the match with a flowing move finished off from a tight angle by Daniels.
Mendy scored the first of his two goals in the 26th minute, racing clear of the defense, before firing low past Nelson Gasic. Three minutes after the restart, Mendy made it 3-nil, cutting inside to meet Alfred Osei’s weighted ball for another shot to the bottom corner.
Mendy turned provider for Bedic to finish as Kaya wrapped up the comprehensive victory that came on the heels of its decent debut in the AFC Cup last week.