Despite loss, Ceres heads to AFC zonal finals

Ceres Negros’ Sean Kane (left) tries to steal the ball from Yangon United’s Uzochukwu Emmanuel. YANGON UNITED FC / TWITTER

MANILA – Ceres Negros moved on to the ASEAN zonal finals of the 2018 AFC Cup despite its 2-3 defeat to Yangon United of Myanmar in the second leg of the zonal semifinals last night at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

The Busmen made it to its second consecutive ASEAN zonal finals stint after finishing the two-leg semifinals with 6-5 aggregate score owing to its 4-2 win in the first leg last week in Bacolod City.

Yangon drew first blood in the match with Kosuke Uchida scoring from inside the box in the second minute. Ceres was quick to respond with an inside hit from Manny Ott from a pass by Stephan Schrock.

Both teams then missed chances – Schrock misfired during a close-range shot attempt while Yangon’s Sekou Sylla fumbled in his shots against the defense of Ceres’ goalkeeper Toni Doblas – for a 1-1 score at the half.

The scoring drought continued until Ceres surged ahead with Bienvenido Marañon finishing in at the near post but he was sent off after getting a red card for taunting.

The incident seemed to have fired up Yangon United as it scored back-to-back goals from Aee Soe in the 83rd minute and Sylla in the 87th minute. But the home team was unable to force an extension after missing its next attempts.

“We didn’t have enough time to prepare for the game because we played in (Philippines Football League) last Saturday,” said Ceres Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic. “But the motivation to return to the finals was enough so we were able to hold them.”

Ceres Negros will try to advance to the inter-zone playoff semifinals when it faces Home United of Singapore – which won 6-3 over Persija Jakarta of Indonesia – in the two-leg ASEAN zonal finals in late July and early August./PN


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