PFL: Ceres-Negros denied top spot by JPV Marikina

Ceres-Negros missed the chance to go top of the Philippines Football League on Wednesday after being held to a 2-2 draw by JPV Marikina at the Binan Football Stadium.

Fernando Rodriguez fired the Ceres ahead five minutes before the half-hour mark, reacting quickest inside the box to get a toe on Patrick Reichelt’s low cross and poke the ball into the back of the net.

Just four minutes later, the hosts pulled level when Kouichi Belgira latched onto Ali Mahmoud’s layoff and skipped past a couple of challenges before squeezing his shot past Louie Casas from a tight angle.

The Busmen did manage to reclaim the lead in the 34th minute when Bienvenido Maranon got enough of a touch on an Omid Nazari freekick to beat Nelson Gasic.

But, a minute before the hour mark, a mistake from Kota Kawase saw him give away possession to Belgira, who proceeded to loop a cross to the far post for Mahmoud to head home and earn JPV a share of the spoils.

With the draw, Ceres remain second on the table and are two points behind leaders Meralco Manila, although they still have two games in hand to reduce the gap and overtake their title rivals in top spot.