AFC Cup: Hariss earns Home United victory

Hariss Harun scored the winning goal in Home United’s 2-1 AFC Cup win over Ceres Negros in the first leg of the Zonal Final on Wednesday.

Home United were comfortable for much of the fixture at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, with Hariss finding the winner in the 84th minute, sending the home crowd into raptures.

The second leg of the Zonal Final takes place on 9 August at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, Philippines.

 

Full report

 

Home United struck early from the penalty spot after Ceres defender Fernando Rodriguez brought down Stipe Plazibat in the penalty area.

The Croat made no mistake in front of goal, beating Ceres stopper Roland Muller low to his right to take the lead for the home side in the 11th minute.

Ceres would enjoy a couple of half chances as the half went on but Home United almost doubled their lead when Khairul Nizam found himself in space 13 minutes later. The forward fired off a left-footed shot from way outside the box that forced a great save from Muller as it fizzed toward the top-right corner.

The Philippine side then had two goals controversially ruled out for offside as they pushed to get back into the tie.

First, on 28 minutes a free kick was whipped in by Kevin Ingreso and the ball bounced into the top corner off the far post past Hassan’s despairing dive, only for the linesman to flag offside for what looked to be interference by a Ceres player.

Then, four minutes later Rodriguez tapped in after Ramsay pulled back Schrock’s cross from the right, only for play to pulled back once again by the linesman’s flag for a tight offside against Ramsay, who looked level.

But Ceres were not to be denied, finding the equaliser late in the opening half. Midfielder Martin Steuble’s long-range effort bounced awkwardly in front of Hassan, who made a complete hash of it, the ball bouncing in off his shoulder to level matters on the cusp of half-time.

The home side managed to weather the storm from Ceres early in the second half, with Hassan making a smart reaction save from Ian Ramsay’s header early on.

The match then ebbed and flowed until Hariss, making his AFC Cup debut for Home, became a threat up front. Faris Ramli sent in a high cross from the left which Hariss met with his head, but Muller saved the attempt.

However, the ball rolled free to Hariss, who duly fired home from close-range with his right foot to give Home United a 2-1 lead in the dying embers of the match.

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