Global and Ceres hack out big AFC Cup wins
LOCAL CLUBS Global Cebu FC and Ceres Negros FC padded their respective 2017 AFC Cup campaigns with telling victories last Tuesday.
Global, playing away in Malaysia against home team Magwe FC, came from behind and win, 4-2, and gave further support to its hold of the top spot in Group F while Ceres raced to a 6-2 victory over visiting Hanoi FC of Vietnam to push itself back into contention in Group G.
Found itself trailing at the halfway point of their fixture after Magwe winger Kyaw Naing Naing punched through in the 38th minute, Global banked on a spirited attack in the second fold to will its way to the win.
Striker Hikaru Minegishi broke through for the Philippine club in the 71st minute to level things with Magwe.
Forward Darryl Roberts then scored back-to-back goals in the 81st and 83rd minute to swing the momentum to Global and build some cushion.
Midfielder Shu Sasaki put the finishing touches to the game for Global with another goal in the 89th minute before defender Naing Lin Tun saved face for the home team with a goal in extra time for the final score.
The win took Global (4-0-1) to 12 points, two clear of second-running Johor Darul Ta’Zim (3-1-1) of Malaysia, and a step closer to the knockout stages of the region’s secondary club football tournament hosted by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Both Global manager Dan Palami and coach Toshiaki Imai expressed satisfaction and delight with the way their players performed despite not playing in full strength with key cog Misagh Bahadoran still out with an injury.
“Proud of you boys with a come-from-behind win versus Magwe FC,” Mr. Palami shared on Twitter.
Global next plays Beoungket Angkor FC of Cambodia at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on May 3.
STILL NOT OUT OF IT
Meanwhile, Ceres continued with its impressive showing in its home field -- the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City.
Needing to win to remain in the mix for the top spot in Group G, Ceres delivered accordingly.
Ceres relied on a fast start to put pressure on Hanoi which proved to be the difference all told.
Midfielders Bienvenido Marañon and Kevin Ingreso put the home side on the board first in the 13th and 21st minute of the match after which Hanoi striker Pham Thanh Luong narrow their deficit with a goal in the 25th minute.
Ceres would not be deterred by it though as it grew more aggressive and took it to Hanoi in the second half, scattering four goals -- two from Fernando (53’, 69’), Jason de Jong (’87) and Mr. Marañon (90’) -- to seize the all-important win.
In between, Hanoi could only add a solitary point to its score, care of midfielder Do Hung Dung in the 86th minute.
Now at first place with eight points, tied with its conquered, Ceres (2-2-1) can moved to the next round if it wins in its next game against also-ran Tampines Rovers FC on May 3 in Singapore.
In the AFC Cup, both Ceres and Global are angling to be one of the top three teams in the ASEAN groupings or the best second-ranked club in group play to advance to the next round. -- Michael Angelo S. Murillo