Ceres Negros proved too strong for Tampines Rovers on Wednesday when they clinched a 4-2 victory to knock out the Singaporean side and secure top spot in Group G of the AFC Cup.
Tampines Rovers 2-4 Ceres Negros
Marañon scores twice for Ceres early
Hanapi closes the gap for Rovers
Rovers down to 10 men with Hamzah red card
Fernando slots penalty for Ceres
Hanapi reduces lead again with second
Kawase secures the points with Ceres' fourth
Ceres started the match positively and soon opened up a two-goal lead thanks to a brace from Bienvenido Marañon. Rovers pulled a goal back before being reduced to 10 men, and seeing Ceres restore their gap before the break.
Yasir Hanapi completed his brace to give Rovers hope in the second half, but Kota Kawase netted the visitors' fourth to ensure victory and three points.
The visitors got off to the perfect start as they took the lead after only six minutes. Jose Porteria provided the cross and Bienvenido Marañon did the rest with a header into the back of the net.
In the 23rd minute, Marañon piled on the misery for Tampines as he completed his brace to put Ceres two goals clear. Manuel Ott did well in the build-up to pick out the attacking midfielder who drilled it home.
However, two minutes later Rovers responded, reducing the deficit to a single goal. Fazli Ayob teed the ball up for Yasir Hanapi, who made no mistake with his shot from outside the area.
Hopes of a comeback for Tampines Rovers took a hit in the 27th minute when they were reduced to 10 men. Shakir Hamzah's reckless tackle on Fernando earned him a straight red card.
On the stroke of half-time, Ceres Negros restored their two-goal cushion thanks to Fernando, who converted a penalty after Ismadi Mukhtar handled the ball in the box.
Despite being one man down, Rovers continued to battle to get back into the game and pulled a goal back on the hour mark. Junior Muñoz fouled Khairul Amri in the box, and Hanapi slotted the spot-kick.
However, Ceres responded almost immediately with their fourth goal of the clash as Kota Kawase headed home after Kevin Ingreso swung the ball in following a corner kick.
Ceres claimed all three points comfortably in the end as they secured their place at the top of Group G.