Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon scored a hat-trick to highlight United City FC’s 6-0 rout of Mendiola FC Saturday for its second straight win in the Philippines Football League held at PFF national training center in Carmona town, Cavite.
Displaying his all-around offensive prowess, Maranon opened the match with a header in the 12th minute, added another with a 20-yard blast in the 25th, and the third on a penalty kick with a minute left in the first half.
His Senegalese attacking partner Robert Mendy also got into fray, coming up with a brace with markers in the 38th and 60th minutes as the wards of coach Francis Muescan showed everyone why they were the favorites in the competition presented by Qatar Airways.
Midfielder Mike Ott added the sixth goal with a 52nd penalty kick in wrapping up the lopsided match.
It was a rude welcome to the tournament for the outclassed charges of Mendiola FC mentor Dan Padernal as they absorbed their first loss in the compact, single-round series.
“We definitely played better than our last game and I think that our rivals just gave up mentally after falling behind 4-0 in the first half,” said Muescan, whose squad hardly felt the absence of suspended midfielder Manny Ott.
Despite the breezy win, the UCFC coach still saw some room for improvement in the remaining matches, saying: “We still have to dominate as much as we can on ball possession and we really want to impose our will against the opposition by overloading more players inside the box.”
“You really cannot make silly mistakes against a top caliber team like United City and not pay for it,” acknowledged Padernal after his team was on the receiving end of their rivals’ offensive might.
“But we still have four games left so it is still mathematically possible for us to get back into the competition.”
While happy with the hat-trick and emerging as the league’s top scorer after Day 2 of the event, Maranon said, “It doesn’t matter if I score one, two or three goals what matters is that the team won and we got our three points.”
The top marksman in the suspended AFC Cup with 35 goals added that the victory was encouraging before they face Maharlika Manila FC, which upset Stallion-Laguna FC 2-1 earlier in the day.
It was a banner day for the 34-year-old forward, who drew first blood with a precise header inside the box off a perfect cross off a free kick by skipper Stephan Schrock 12 minutes in the game.
He added his second marker 13 minutes later with another blast from 20 yards in front of the goal that Mendiola FC Ivorian goalie Dinni Ouattara could not hold onto, the ball slipping through his legs, before capping the day’s work with a penalty in the 44th after Mendy was tackled inside the penalty area.