It was a far from convincing performance, but Dynamic Herb Cebu got the job done nonetheless and sustained its title push in the Philippines Football League brought to you by Qatar Airways.
The Gentle Giants turned back Mendiola FC 1991, 1-0, last Saturday at the PFF National Training Centre in Carmona Cavite to move within five points off leader Kaya FC-Iloilo in the title race.
With Kaya not playing this weekend, Cebu made its move thanks to Japanese forward Rintaro Hama’s 23rd minute strike that pushed the Gentle Giants past a stubborn Mendiola side.
“We’re happy for the three points,” said Cebu’s Turkish head coach Mehmet Kakil, “But the game was not satisfying. At least, we’re only one game behind Kaya in the standings.”
Kaya has 42 points, with Cebu at 37 and a game in hand. Mendiola remained in sixth spot with six points from 13 matches.
The Gentle Giants enjoyed plenty of the ball in the early goings with Ivan Ouano testing Michael Asong with a header in the sixth minute. It wasn’t until Marius Kore found Hama surging on the left flank when Cebu found the breakthrough. A fine first touch and a clinical strike to the bottom corner finally beat Asong.
Mendiola came close to an equalizer late in the first half, but Serge Kaole’s shot was denied by Jun Badelic, before Hama’s shot was also saved by Asong in the 52nd minute.