Ceres-Negros falls short against Hanoi, ends AFC Cup run

A late run wasn’t enough as Ceres-Negros FC bowed to Hanoi FC 2-1 (3-2 in aggregate) in the second leg of the ASEAN semifinal of the AFC Cup. Pape Omar and Nguyen Van Quyet scored for the home squad while Curt Dizon pulled one back for the visitors.

The Vietnamese champs put the pressure early which resulted to plenty of chances for the men in purple. Do Hung Dung had the best chance in the 18th minute be he missed a sitter in front of goal. Nguyen Quang Hai had a chance of his own a minute later but he sorely missed from outside the box.

Ceres-Negros held on halfway into the half as Hanoi’s attacking barrage was controlled well by the defense. A screamer from Ngan Van Dai near the hour mark was the closest but was over the bar.

The home squad continued near the end of the half but a sorry miss from Van Quyet and a superb save from Roland Muller from a Do Hung Dung shot meant that it was still 0-0 at the half.

Hanoi picked up where they left off in the first half after Sean Kane was forced to block a shot in front of goal. A chance from Quang Hai in the 51st was threatening but Silva made a last ditch tackle to quell the danger.

Mike Ott beat his marker in the 54th but his resulting pass near the goal line was straight to the keeper. Substitue Pham Than Luong laid off to an open Quang Hai but the young player blasted it over the bar.

A controversial through ball to Nquyen Van Quyet allowed the forward some space before he released to Pape Omar who tucked in the opening goal. The Ceres-Negros defense was up in arms as the striker was deemed in an offside position with the assistant hesitating to call the offside.

Miguel Tanton had a chance from distance but his attempt was way wide. Stephan Schrock lost the ball in his own half which allowed Hanoi to threaten with the ball landing to Van Quyet who makes it 2-0 to send the almost four-thousand crowd into celebration.

Ceres-Negros put on the pressure in the remaining minutes with Hanoi comfortably ahead. A lay off by Kane to Ott allowed the midfielder to shoot from the edge of the box but the ball goes wide of the top corner. Tanton almost found Alvaro Silva but his header off a corner was not on target.

A fine delivery from the wings from Schrock allowed substitute Curt Dizon to pull back a goal for the Philippine champs in the 85th minute to silence the crowd and make it 2-1.

Schrock almost delivered another assist in injury time after passing to Ott whose shot was palmed out by Nguyen Van Cuong. The busmen had the best chances in the last minute when Mahir Karic won the ball on the edge of the goal line before releasing to Silva whose shot was blocked by the defense. Tanton recovered the rebound but the final attempt was wide.

The referee blew the whistle after three minutes of extra time with Hanoi FC ending Ceres-Negros campaign in the AFC Cup, their fourth consecutive appearance in the knockout stages. Hanoi FC makes the final for the first time and will play against the winners in the semis between Becamex Bin Duong and PSM Makassar.

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