Filipino club Ceres La Salle FC was booted out of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup 2016 after losing to Hong Kong’s South China AA, 0-1, during the knockout phase of the tournament on Tuesday at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Ceres, which came out of the elimination round on top of Group E, suffered their first loss after playing seven games in the continental club competition.
“We controlled the tempo in the second half, we had good chances. We didn’t capitalize on those goals. They were a lot. It so happened that a single mistake happened – that we couldn’t avoid that it’s really a part of the game,” Ceres coach Frank Muescan said.
It was the visitors who opened the match strong with series of attacks to test the defense of Ceres La Salle.
Ceres, similarly, in the early minutes launched several attempts led by Patrick Reichelt but were unable to break the goal-less deadlock until halftime.
Ceres almost took the lead after the break behind Reichelt and Bienvenido Maranon but South China’s goalkeeper Tsang Man Fai was quick to block their shots.
After the regulation, it was a strike by veteran Brazilian midfielder Luiz Carlos in the 107th minute of extra time that secured the win for the visiting team.
“They capitalized on that mistake and converted it into a goal. For us it’s a part of the game, we’re very confident that in the other games we can do a lot better,” Muescan added.
Despite having clear chances during the match, they were unlucky not to score on any of their attempts.
“We can see that were almost there. We almost scored a goal; we had a lot of chances but we were so unlucky tonight. This is football,” he said.
In the preliminary stage of the AFC Cup, Ceres emerged undefeated with a record of three wins and three draws in Group E.
They opened the tournament with a 2-2 draw with Malaysia’s Selangor FA at home before posting their first win against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, 2-0, in Dhaka Bangladesh.
Ceres also defeated Singaporean powerhouse Tampines Rovers FC, 2-1, in their second meeting in Bacolod before holding Selangor to another draw.
The reigning United Football League champions notched their biggest win in the competition after drubbing Sheikh Jamal, 5-0, through Adrian Gallardo Valdes’ hat trick in front of a home crowd on May 10.