CERES-LA Salle quickly got back on the winning track, doing it in style by trampling on Socceroo, 4-0, on Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to finish the first round of its maiden top-flight campaign in the United Football League on a high note.
Atoning for their first loss of the season, a 2-0 decision at the hands of Global FC that snapped their seven-match winning streak, Ceres leaned on a late first-half goal, then pounced on Socceroo’s defensive lapses in the second half to score the shutout.
The result meant the promoted Division II champion Ceres tighten Ceres tightened its grip on the top spot with 24 points after nine matches, ahead of Stallion FC by three points, before the league transitions into the UFL Cup in the next week.
Azkals Patrick Reichelt and Nate Burkey struck off penalties, while Oladipo Okunaiya and Lemuel Unabia also found the back of the net for Ceres, which handed Socceroo its seventh loss against a win and a draw, pinning them next to the last in the 10-team Division 1 standings.
It looked like the match would be scoreless at intermission until Okunaiaya directed a cross to the goal two minutes into injury time.
Two minutes after the second-half whistle was blown, Reichelt converted a penalty awarded after Burkey was fouled inside the box.
Roles were reversed eight minutes before stoppage time when Burkey scored the penalty after Reichelt drew a foul from Stanley Ankrah.