Philippine clubs Global Cebu FC and Ceres Negros FC were unable to capitalize on their AFC Cup ASEAN zonal semifinals held this week, but still leaving both teams a slim chance of advancing to the zonal final.
Last Tuesday 16 May, Global Cebu settled for a 2-2 draw against Singaporean side Home United at the Rizal Memorial Stadium. The result left Global with a disadvantage heading into the second leg as Home United has two away goals to their name.
Global, which topped Group F in the group stages, initially went ahead from a Daryll Roberts goal in the 16th minute. Home United answered back in the 34th minute after Adam Swandi had a clear chance on goal. Amani Aguinaldo restored Global’s lead in the 53rd minute.
Concerns mounted for Global Cebu in the last 15 minutes after Aguinaldo was given his second yellow card and sent off. The visitors capitalized on the man advantage and got the late equalizer from a Stipe Plazibat header.
In the other zonal semifinal, Ceres Negros FC scored two vital away goals, but were felled by Malaysian giant Johor Darul Ta’zim, 2-3. It was a frenetic first half with two goals scored for either side last 17 May.
Johor broke the deadlock in the 18th minute after Gonzalo Cabrera latched on a chance from outside the box. Ceres, which led Group G, found their composure after that goal. Fernando Rodriguez levelled for Ceres in the 21st minute and was immediately followed up by Bienvenido Maranon’s eighth goal of the tournament five minutes later.
Johor midfielder Safiq Rahim forced an equalizer in the 44th minute, and Hazwan Bakri won it for the Malaysians in the 68th minute.
Both Global and Ceres still have a fighting chance of advancing to the zonal final, but it will be a challenge for both teams. Global will be away against Home United on 30 May at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. Ceres face Johor on 31 May at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.