Ceres-Negros FC has made the ASEAN Final since its inception but in no way was it easy for the Busmen. A hair-raising semifinal against Johor Darul Ta’zim in 2017 and an emotional one against Yangon United in 2018 has made this knockout stage an important part of the club’s history. Lets take a trip on memory lane to see how the busmen managed to grind favorable results in the ASEAN Semis.
AFC Cup 2017: Zonal Semi-Finals First Leg
The Philippine squad had the most difficult of tasks in 2017 when they traveled to southern Malaysia to play the former AFC Cup Champions at the Larkin Stadium where the home squad was undefeated in the competition. The busmen conceded first but away goals from Fernando Rodriguez and Bienvenido Maranon were enough to bring home after the undeserved loss.
AFC Cup 2017: Zonal Semi-Finals Second Leg
The Negros squad only needed a 1-0 win to go through with Kota Kawase getting a goal in the match. Gonzalo Cabrera equalized to make things difficult but drama late in the match meant that the Filipinos would progress through the final where they eventually beat Home United.
AFC Cup 2018: Zonal Semi-Finals First Leg
Bienvenido Maranon led the scoring charge when they faced Yangon United in the first leg in Panaad in 2019. His marvelous chip in the opener dictated the pace on how the semifinal was played. Late goals from Yangon however dampened the big victory in front of the home fans.
AFC Cup 2018: Zonal Semi-Finals Second Leg
The scorching conditions made it uncomfortable for the busmen in the second leg in Yangon. An early goal by the home squad made it uneasy for the visitors but goals from Manny Ott and Maranon gave the busmen a bit of a cushion. The sending off of the the Spaniard after his celebration allowed the Myanmar champions to score two more but the Filipinos escaped with a narrow loss to make it to the finals sans Maranon.
The busmen have always managed to go through the eye of the needle of the semis through the years. They will be compelled to do it all over again when they face Hanoi starting June 18.