AFC Cup 2019: 5 talking points as Ceres Negros and Hanoi FC play out 1-1 draw in first leg of ASEAN Zonal Semifinal

AFC Cup Ceres Negros hanoi FC

Philippines’ Ceres Negros FC and Vietnam’s Hanoi FC played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the AFC Cup 2019 ASEAN Zonal Semifinal at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod on Tuesday.

Bienvenido Maranon scored in the 57th minute to give the hosts the lead in the semifinal, but the Vietnamese champions fought back to earn a 1-1 draw as Pape Omar Faye scored a crucial away goal for Hanoi in the 67th minute.

Here, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the five main talking points from the first leg of the ASEAN Zonal Semifinal..

1) Ceres with an uninspiring start

Hosts Ceres Negros were expected to be on top of visitors Hanoi in the first leg of the ASEAN Zonal Semifinals, but the Philippines Football League club were the ones who began shakily at the Panaad Stadium. Hanoi star Nguyen Quang Hai got behind the home team’s defence as early as the sixth minute only to be denied by a crucial save by goalkeeper Roland Muller. The V.League club’s attackers continued to toil with the Ceres defenders in the first 30 minutes as centre-backs Alvaro Silva and Super went into the books — Hanoi with only a goal lacking to show for their dominance.

2) Van Cong keeps the visitors in the game! 

However, the men in yellow sprang into life post the half-hour mark and Hanoi had only goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong to thank for keeping them in the game. First, the 26-year-old custodian produced a brilliant reflex save off AFC Cup 2019 joint top-scorer Maranon’s half-volleyed effort from a cross in the 34th minute. Van Cong was once again at hand to keep the scores level a couple of minutes later when he denied Philippines international Mike Ott’s shot from the edge of the box. It is safe to say that the Purple-Yellows had their goalkeeper to thank as both teams maintained parity!

3) Should it have been a penalty for Ceres?

The biggest point of contention in the first half came in the injury time when Ceres Negros’ appeals for a penalty was shot down by the referee. Stephan Schrock had played in a cross from the right which reached Maranon in the centre of the box. The attacker brought the ball under control and fired on the turn which hit the hand of Hanoi FC centre-back Do Duy Manh who was closing in on the Spanish forward. Maranon and his head coach Risto Vidakovic were confident that it was a penalty, but referee was having nothing of it and waved away the protests as the two teams went into the half-time break with the scoreline still goalless.

4) Maranon at it again, but Hanoi hit back! 

33-year-old Maranon has been prolific for Ceres in the AFC Cup this season and the Spaniard scored his 10th goal of the campaign to put the hosts ahead in the 57th minute. Schrock was the architect of the goal as he played a pinpoint cross into the middle which was headed into the goal by the Ceres forward who has now scored more than any player in the AFC Cup 2019. However, Hanoi managed to restore the parity 10 minutes later when Senegalese star Pape Omar Faye slotted past Muller in goal to hand the visitors a crucial away goal at Bacolod.

5) All to play for in the second leg

A draw in the first leg means that it is all to play for in the second leg of this ASEAN Zonal Semifinal to be held at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi on June 25. Hanoi will have a slender advantage with Oseni’s goal from the first leg giving them the away goal advantage. However, they will be aware Ceres are a team who can score goals. The Philippines club will meanwhile look to attack as they will need to score at least once to reach the ASEAN Zonal Final paving the way for an open and exciting game in Hanoi next week.