Ceres-Negros FC scored an emphatic 2-0 win in the second leg of the ASEAN Zonal final to go through 3-2 in aggregate over Home United last August 9, 2017. Goals from OJ Porteria and Manny Ott were the difference in putting the Bacolod squad to the next round of the AFC Cup.
It was a dream start for the home squad as they scored early in the 2nd minute after Porteria redirected an Iain Ramsay cross past the arms of Hassan Sunny. The Busmen were given a gift in the 13th minue when Home defender Abdil Qayyim handled the ball in the box forcing the referee to call a penalty for Ceres. Spanish striker Fernando Rodriguez stepped in to the spot but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
The Singaporean club had their first chance moments later when a header from Khairul Nizam was saved by Roland Muller. Porteria provided a great through ball to Rodriguez in the 17th minute but Hassan came out with a good save. The visitors had a great chance to equalize near the hour mark but a Stipe Plazibat’s attempt was covered well by Muller.
Ceres would mount a barrage of attempts in the remaining fifteen minutes but Home was on point defensively, clearing and saving dangerous chances to preserve the scoreline. Khairul would get another chance in the 39th but his solo effort went wide. Porteria found some space towards goal in the 40th minute but was tugged by Afiq Yunos just outside the box. Ott produced a world class free kick smashing the ball towards the top corner to produce the 2-0 lead. Halftime finished with the Negros squad ahead.
Adjustments came at halftime for the S. League squad as Coach Aidil Sharil brought on Marijan Suto up top, putting Farris Ramly wide and Harris Harun at centerback. It was a chessmatch for both squads as Home United attempted to score an aggregate equalizer with Ceres-Negros preserving the winning margin. It was past the hour mark before chances came in when Ramsay shot wide off a through ball and Farris’s dangerous attempt inside the box went straight to Muller.
Kota Kawase was brought on the 64th minute to add another defender to manage the height of the Home attackers. The visitors would see much of the ball in the final twenty with the home squad defending the scoreline. The Busmen produced a good counterattack in the 72nd when a Porteria through ball was blasted wide by Ramsay.
The final minutes were tense with Home United owning much of the ball. Ott would latch on to a clearance from outside the box but his try in the 80th minute was out. Moments later, Plazibat pushed the Ceres faithful to a paus when his rebound in the box hit the crossbar and out.
Substitute Bienvenido Maranon would outsmart the high pressing defense and rushed for a one-on-one with the keeper in the 90th minute. His chip however was too high giving Home United a lease on life with four minutes of injury time added on.
The final shot of the match fell to Faris but his attempt went straight to Muller to the delight of the home fans. The final whistle came and Ceres-Negros claimed the ASEAN Zone crown and a place in the Inter-zone playoffs of the AFC Cup.
Photos from Stephen Tan