Ceres Negros book spot in ASEAN Zonal Final
Yangon: Ceres Negros of the Philippines made it through to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final for the second year in a row on Wednesday, progressing 6-5 on aggregate despite falling to a 3-2 loss to Myanmar’s Yangon United in their semi-final second leg.
The first leg finished 4-2 to Ceres, but anyone at Thuwanna Youth Training Centre Stadium who thought the outcome was a foregone conclusion was forced to reassess in just the second minute, as Yangon burst out of the traps and took the lead through a wonderful Kosuke Uchida strike.
Ceres reacted well to that early blow and restored parity and their two-goal aggregate advantage just six minutes later, as Manuel Ott robbed Aung Yan Lin deep in the Yangon half, fed Stephan Schrock, and then tucked home a return pass from Schrock after the German-Filipino had powered past the challenges of Kyaw Khant Min and Kekere Moukailou.
It was pretty much one-way traffic after that as Yangon went in search of the goals they needed to turn the tie around, but after Kyaw Zin Oo and Emmanuel Uzochukwu failed to take the best of the hosts’ chances, Bienvenido Maranon snatched a second on the break for Ceres, slicing a left-footed effort home at the near post in the 78th minute.
The Spaniard was then sent off as a result of unsavoury scenes in the celebrations though, enabling Yangon to mount a late comeback bid as substitute Aee Soe made it 2-2 in the 83rd minute and then Sekou Sylla striked converted a penalty in the 87th minute, with Yangon also being reduced to 10 men in-between as Uzochukwu was shown a red card.
That was to prove the end of the drama, however, and Ceres will now face Singapore’s Home United in a repeat of last year’s ASEAN Zonal final, which the Filipinos won 3-2 on aggregate.