Cebu freezes Forza, 6-1

(This is the draft of my report for Sun.Star Cebu on March 11)
CEBU Queen City United nailed its fourth straight rout in the United Football League to move up to solo third in Division 2 yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Cebu Queen City showed it was just a class above Forza, 6-1, to improve to 16 points in eight matches, dropping Agila FC to fourth place, a point behind.

Cebu, which has spent almost P1.4 million on airfare alone for the UFL,  trails Diliman (22) and Pachanga (21) in the standings, though Pachanga has a game on hand.

“We are really improving,” said coach Mario Ceniza. “Though we played without some key players, the substitutes like Carlo Abadia and Blui Arriola played well today.”

Arriola was a menace on offense yesterday, finding an open Rene Menchavez for the first goal of the match in the 19th, while Bryan Eborda kept the advantage with a goal mouth clearance in the 24th with keeper Charles Villarta nowhere near the ball.

Cebu had numerous chances in the first half but couldn’t convert, with Dan Villarico hitting the side netting in one move.

“Dan is one of the leading scorers in the division and he was eager to score. I told them at half-time that we should be patient because that was our main concern, our finishing,” Ceniza said.

Villarico is now tied with Pachanga’s Alfredo Gonzales for third in the Division 2 goal tally with eight goals. Romnick Jover, also of Pachanga of Sunken Garden, is first with 12, while Diliman’s Jose Santos is second with 10.

That tactic worked and Rommel Cuizon scored just seven minutes after the break, tapping in a rebound from an Arriola shot to an empty net.

However, Forza got one back after Eborda was called for a handball, leading to a penalty.

In the 65th, Villarico connected with a lovely pass from Cuizon, got past two defenders to make it 3-1, and Cebu got a break anew in the 70th after Villarta mishandled a cross that was headed in by a Forza striker.   Villarta didn’t give up on the play and dove for the ball, but it clearly landed a foot inside the goalline before he cleared it. Forza got the rebound but the ball hit Villarta’s foot.

“I think they got demoralized after that,” said Ceniza, who added the linesman and referee seemed to be in the correct position to spot the goal.

Ten minutes later, Marion Cubelo made it 4-1 with a lovely strike from right flank two minutes into injury time, an unmarked Jan Neil Conmigo blasted Cubelo’s cross for 5-1 and a few seconds later, captain Jan Michael Flores took advantage of a goalie’s miscue to tap in the sixth goal to an empty net.

Aside from winning its fourth straight game since a 1-0 loss to Pachanga, Cebu has scored an impressive 29 goals in four games, while conceding only three goals, two on open play.

However, Ceniza cautioned that the real test will still be in the second round when Cebu meet’s Pachanga and Diliman again.

“We will really know how far we have improved when we face them,” said Ceniza.

Cebu conceded a first-minute goal against Diliman before scoring in the 34th for a 1-1 draw last Jan. 21.

Yesterday’s win was Cebu’s first a game that was aired live. Their previous stints on live TV resulted to losses to the Stalions (8-0) and Pachanga (4-0 and 1-0).


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