OJ Porteria sparkled with a goal and an assist as PFL champion Ceres-Negros edged Shan United of Myanmar 3-2 on Wednesday night to advance to the second round of the AFC Champions League preliminary round at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Porteria set up Bienve Marañon for Ceres’ second goal and then scored what turned out to be the marginal goal in the 79th minute as the Busmen forged a duel with Port FC of Thailand in the next round in Bangkok.
Despite a short preparation, the Busmen came out sharp, with Senegalese striker Robert Lopez Mendy opening the scoring in the fifth minute with a left-footed goal to the bottom corner off a cutback from new signing Pika Minegishi.
“We were pressuring them and we were unlucky not to get more goals,” said Porteria. “We only had four or five training sessions so we were really tired but we just stuck in there and got the win. We’re not fit, that’s why we wanted to keep the ball. We just showed the heart to survive the game.”
Despite their dominance, the Busmen only grabbed their second goal just before halftime as Marañon’s deflected effort caught Shan goalkeeper Thiha Sithu rooted to his spot.
The Busmen looked like they were in cruise control although Mendy wasted a breakaway chance and Porteria was denied by the crossbar with a long-range effort in the second half.
Zin Min Tun pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute but Porteria quickly restored the two-goal cushion by meeting Mike Ott’s pass inside the box and firing it home.
Maximin Djawa set the stage for a thrilling finish as his 87th-minute strike made it 3-2. But Ceres held on for the victory and moved within two wins of reaching the group stage of Asia’s most prestigious club competition.