Veteran midfielder Paul Mulders powered Global Cebu FC’s impressive 3-1 win over Beoung Ket Angkor FC that allowed the Filipino club to top Group F of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup late Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Mulders, a late addition to Global’s roster, led his new team to its third straight win and a seat in the knockout zonal semifinals.
After notching a brace in their initial 2-0 victory against the Cambodian side last March 7, the 38-year-old Filipino-Dutch once again served as the driving force behind Global Cebu’s attacks.
He opened the scoring for the reigning Philippines champions in the 12th minute with a shot from deep inside their opponents’ back off a well-placed cross by teammate Paolo Salenga.
Filipino-Japanese winger Hikaru Minegeshi sank a left footed shot in the 28th minute to double the lead for Global.
Midfielder Sath Rosib put the visiting team back in the game with a header just minutes before the break.
Global Cebu continued battering the defense of their foes and was rewarded when Darryl Roberts scored a goal to seal the win for the home team.
“It feels good to be on top of the group. I think we also made history for a Filipino team to make 15 points in the group stage. It’s good that we went through. Its good for Philippine football,” said Mulders.
But Mulders refused to take all the credit stressing the win was a collective team effort.
“I just want to control my position and control the ball with my teammates. I want to always try and help them with my experience. We have to continue to work hard,” said Mulders.
Global Cebu finished the group on top with 15 points on a 5-0-1 (win-draw-loss) record and will face Singapore’s Home United FC in a home-and-way duel starting May 16.
Meanwhile, Ceres Negros FC also ended the elimination round as the No. 1 seed of Group F after defeating Tampines Rovers FC, 4-2, at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Ceres Negros finished with a 3-2-1 card to claim the No. 1 position and will play against Malaysian powerhouse Johor Darul Ta’zim FC in the zonal semis.