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Hotshots: Bienvenido Marañón (Ceres Negros FC) - 2019 AFC Cup

Kuala Lumpur: Since making his AFC Cup debut in 2016, striker Bienvenido Marañón has quickly established himself as one of Asia’s finest – a well-earned reputation he firmly underlined during last season’s Continental action.

Despite Philippines powerhouse Ceres Negros (now known as United City FC) - ultimately succumbing to Vietnamese giants Hanoi FC in the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals, the crowd favourite bagged 10 AFC Cup goals in 2019, an impressive haul which saw him finish as the competition’s leading marksman.

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With five strikes already to his name in this year’s AFC Cup, Marañón is once again proving to be a star attraction, his prowess in front of goal, quite rightly, making him feared and revered in equal measure.

In the second instalment of our series articles detailing goalscoring exploits in AFC competitions, join as we rewind to Ceres’ 2019 AFC Cup outing – a campaign during which Marañón scored in six of the eight games he featured in.

Goal #1 vs Shan United FC – Group Stage: February 26, 2019

Group G: Ceres Negros FC vs Shan United

Marañón registered the first of his 10 goals thanks to a 37th minute penalty against Myanmar side Shan United on Matchday One. Having been brought down by goalkeeper Phone Thitsar Min, the Spaniard dusted himself off before delicately chipping the ball into the centre of the goal as Min dived to his left. The spot-kick success helped guide Ceres to a narrow 3-2 victory.

Goal #2, #3 and #4 vs Becamex Binh Duong – Group Stage: March 12, 2019

Group G: Becamex Binh Duong vs Ceres Negros FC

With Ceres riding high in Group G, Marañón’s fine form continued courtesy of a hat-trick in the 3-1 win at Becamex Binh Duong. His first – somewhat bizarre – effort came after he punished Bui Tan Truong’s lapse in concentration. Numbers two and three duly followed, Marañón being in the right place at the right time to convert crosses from Stephan Schrock and OJ Porteria respectively.

Goal #5 vs Persija Jakarta – Group Stage: April 3, 2019

Group G: Ceres Negros v Persija Jakarta

Marañón’s prowess in the final third once again proved decisive for Ceres as his early goal ultimately helped the Filipino heavyweights secure a valuable 1-0 win over Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta. This time, Marañon was on hand to expertly head home a pinpoint Martin Steuble cross from the left after only nine minutes of what proved to be a hard-fought encounter.

Goal #6 vs Persija Jakarta – Group Stage: April 23, 2019

Group G: Persija Jakarta v Ceres Negros

Buoyed by their perfect record, table-topping Ceres travelled to play Persija in late April – a game in which Marañón notched his sixth goal in four outings. With Ceres 2-1 down, Marañón’s powerful 85th minute header from yet another Schrock cross drew his side level. Ceres would go on to secure all three points thanks to Mike Ott’s late winner at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

Goal #7, #8 and #9 vs Shan United FC – Group Stage: May 1, 2019

Group G: Shan United v Ceres Negros FC

Ceres guaranteed their place in the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals following a 5-0 success at Shan United, with their star forward registering his second hat-trick of the 2019 group stage. Marañón slid the ball home to break the deadlock on 38 minutes, before doubling his tally with a penalty on the stroke of half-time. A neat second-half finish from 15 yards rounded off Marañón’s impressive display.

Goal #10 vs Hanoi FC – ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals, 1st Leg: June 18, 2019

ASEAN Zonal SF 1st Leg: Ceres Negros v Hanoi FC

Marañón’s final goal of a memorable 2019 AFC Cup campaign came in a 1-1 draw against a highly regarded Hanoi FC side. With the ASEAN Zonal Semi-final tie evenly balanced, Marañón’s wonderfully controlled diving header handed Ceres a 58th minute lead Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium, Bacolod City. Hanoi would, however, go on to equalise before winning the return leg 2-1.

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