Home United down Ceres-Negros to win AFC Cup ASEAN Zone

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Home United were crowned the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone champions on Wednesday after beating Ceres-Negros 2-0 to complete a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Following a goalless first half at Jalan Besar Stadium, Shakir Hamzah put the Singaporean outfit ahead two minutes after the hour mark with a thumping header before Song Ui-young added a second in the 74th minute to seal the victory.

The result also ensured the Protectors exacted revenge on their Philippine opponents, after Ceres had beaten them in last year’s ASEAN Zone final.

Having been held to a 1-1 draw in last week’s first leg in Bacolod, it was no surprise that Ceres showed the greater endeavour early on while the hosts were content to threaten on the counter.

Carli de Murga and Stephan Schrock both sent decent efforts narrowly wide, before Home goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah did well to make a double save to deny both Patrick Reichelt and Blake Powell.

Despite losing out in the possession stakes, Home looked dangerous when they did go forward and a fierce freekick from Izzdin Shafiq had to be pushed over by Toni Doblas.

Ceres were however dealt a huge blow shortly before halftime when Patrick Reichelt went in bravely for a header and collided with Rudy, with the Philippines international needing several minutes of treatment before being stretchered off.

And, in the 62nd minute, it was the Protectors who broke the deadlock when Shakir climbed high to meet an Izzdin corner and sent a thumping header into the back of the net.

The visitors almost mustered an immediate reply two minutes after when the ever-dangerous Schrock unleashed a ferocious 30-yard effort that was a whisker away from sailing under the bar.

But, with 16 minutes remaining, Home produced the knockout punch as Faritz Hameed’s lovely first-time cross from the right found Song, who perfectly guided a header into the bottom corner to make sure of the win – and the title of ASEAN Zone champions – for his side.

Home have now advanced to the inter-zone semi-finals and will meet 4.25 SC of DPR Korea, with the first leg set to take place in Singapore on August 21.

HOME UNITED: Rudy Khairullah, Faritz Hameed, Abdil Qaiyyim (Shahrin Saberin 37’), Shakir Hamzah, Faizal Roslan, Aqhari Abdullah, M. Anumanthan, Izzdin Shafiq, Isaka Cernak, Song Ui-young (Hafiz Nor 83′), Shahril Ishak (Amy Recha 90+1’).

CERES-NEGROS: Toni Doblas, Amani Aguinaldo (Jeffrey Christiaens 52’), Carli de Murga, Manuel Herrera, OJ Porteria, Omid Nazari, Martin Steuble, Curt Dizon (Paul Mulders 63’), Stephan Schrock, Patrick Reichelt (Kevin Ingreso 45’), Blake Powell.