Filipino clubs Ceres Negros FC and Global Cebu FC settled for draws with separate foes in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2018 Asean zone on Tuesday night.
Philippine champion Ceres Negros’ match against the Singaporean side Home United FC ended 1-1, behind Super Herrera’s late equalizer in a rematch of the Asean zone finals at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Despite the stalemate, Ceres stayed atop Group F with four points and a superior goal difference over Home United.
Bienvenido Marañon could have given the Yellow Busmen an early lead with Patrick Reichelt getting fouled by Sirina Camara inside the box. The Spanish striker, however, faltered in the ensuing penalty kick.
Home United started the scoring instead as Shahril Ishak calmly converted his shot from the spot in the 23rd minute.
The Protectors were reduced to ten men after Camara incurred his second yellow card for another hard tackle on Reichelt shortly after the restart.
Seeing their rivals undermanned, the Negrenses launched a blitz and got rewarded in the 78th when Spanish defender Herrera headed home a free kick by Manny Ott.
The draw was unexpected for the defending Asean zone titlists considering their fiery 9-0 victory over Boeung Ket FC at the start of their title-retention bid. Ceres head coach Risto Vidakovic though was still happy with the outcome.
“We expected a very hard game. It’s never easy to play in this pitch because it’s very hard. But after what we saw in the first half, I can be happy with the draw,” said Vidakovic.
“We didn’t play good in the first half but we improved in the second. I think that 1-1 is a good result for us,” he added.
Meanwhile, domestic runner-up Global Cebu battled Indonesian counterpart Bali United FC to a 1-1 standoff at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila.
Global grabbed its first point, remaining ahead of Group G cellar-dweller Bali United on a higher goal difference.
Curt Dizon gave the People’s Club the lead just 11 minutes into the match as the Azkals standout nodded in a parried delivery from the right wing.
Bali drew level in the 74th as forward Ilija Spasojevic headed a corner kick and the momentum shifted to the visitors from then on.
The Tridatu Warriors won a penalty kick four minutes later after Marco Casambre downed a Bali booter in the box.
Global captain and goalkeeper Patrick Deyto denied Spasojevic from the spot and pull off another save down the stretch to preserve the draw.
“For me, it was an excellent effort from the whole team. We scored first. We played well, especially Patrick,” said Global mentor Marjo Allado.