By Jonas Terrado
(Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore)
7:30 p.m. – Home United vs Ceres
(Tied 1-1 on aggregate)
Ceres-Negros battled Singapore’s Home United to a 1-all draw Wednesday night in the first leg of their ASEAN Zonal Finals in the AFC Cup at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
An early goal by Blake Powell off a spot kick was cancelled out by a header from Home United’s Isaka Cernak, forcing the two clubs to settle for a tie heading into the next week’s second leg at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Powell struck the penalty nine minutes into the contest after he was brought down by Shakir Hamzah inside the box.
But the newly-crowned Philippines Football League champion’s lead disappeared 14 minutes later when Cernak delivered the equalizer with a rebound off a spot kick to give Home United the important away-goal advantage.
The Busmen need only to win in the return leg in the Lion City on Wednesday to emerge as ASEAN Zonal winner for the second straight year.
The winner of the two-legged affair will also advance to the inter-zonal semis phase of Asia’s second-tier club competition against North Korea’s 4.25 SC later this month.
Ceres is playing without top striker Bienvenido Maranon, who was handed a two-match ban for his straight red card in the ASEAN Zonal semis against Myanmar’s Yangon United last May.
The Spaniard will complete his suspension in the second leg.
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