Philippine side Ceres-Negros faces a daunting task in the second and final leg of the 2017 Asean Zonal Finals of this year’s AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Cup against Home United of Singapore.
On Wednesday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the Lion City, Ceres lost a heartbreaker to United, 2-1.
The hosts’ Stipe Plazibat, from Croatia, opened the scoring for United at the 11th minute with a penalty kick off Carli de Murga.
Plazibat was the hero in Home United’s Asean Zonal Finals triumph in the semifinal stage over another Filipino team, Global Cebu.
Martin Steuble, a Filipino-Swiss and a mainstay of the Philippine national football team Azkals, equalized for the visitors in stoppage time of the first half.
Goals from Ceres in the 29th minute from Kevin Ingreso, a Filipino-American and also an Azkal, and in the 32nd minute from Fernando Rodriquez, a Spaniard, were disallowed.
As the match neared the end of regulation time, United midfielder Harris Harun netted the insurance goal for the Singaporean side.
Harun was making his debut with Home United.
In the last clash of the Asean Zonal Finals in Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City (Negros Occidental) on August 9, Ceres needs to win only 1-0 to earn an inter-zonal meeting with Tajikistan side Istiklol FC.
Ceres Negros and Global Cebu are the first Philippine sides to make it to the semifinal stage of the AFC Cup, with Ceres hoping to set another record for Philippine football by winning this year’s edition of a major Asian football competition.