AFC zonal finals Leg 1: S’pore keeps Ceres at bay

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

Friday, Agusto 4, 2017

MANILA – Ceres Negros of the Philippines suffered a heartbreaking 1-2 defeat to Home United of Singapore in Leg 1 of the 2017 AFC Cup zonal finals at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the latter’s home country.
Debuting Harris Halum scored the go-ahead goal in the final minutes to push Home United ahead in aggregate score leading into Leg 2 on Aug. 9 at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Despite the defeat, Ceres still has a good chance to advance to the next round if it beats Home United or forces it to a draw by virtue of the away goal scored Wednesday night.
With the score tied at 1-all, Halum snuck around Ceres’ backline defender on their free kick, and then calmly scored the game-winning header over the defense of goalkeeper Roland Muller.
Home United got the early lead, with Stipe Plazibat scoring from a free kick in the 11th minute, but Ceres quickly countered on Martin Steuble’s hit at the half.
In the second half, hits of Ceres’ Spanish strikers Manuel Herrera and Fernando Rodriguez were ruled as offside.
After Halum’s conversion, shot attempts from Kevin Ingreso and Bienvenido Marañon were easily saved by Home United’s goalkeeper Hassan Sunny.
The winner in the Ceres-Home United series will face Central Zonal champion Istiklol in a two-legged inter-zonal semifinals later this year./PN