Home United snatch top spot from Ceres-Negros

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Home United advanced into the AFC Cup knockout round in style after securing top spot in Group F with a smash-and-grab 2-0 win over Ceres-Negros.

Entering Wednesday’s clash at the Panaad Park and Stadium needing only to avoid a five-goal defeat to reach the ASEAN Zone semi-finals, it initially looked as though Home would do just that as they spent much of the contest frustrating a more-attacking Ceres outfit.

But, remarkably, the visitors took the lead in the 80th minute when a freekick from the left by Izzdin Shafiq sailed past a sea of players inside the area, bouncing past Toni Doblas into the back of the net.

And, deep into injury-time, the Protectors were awarded a penalty when substitute Amiruldin Asraf – mere seconds after being brought on presumably to run the clock down – ventured into the box and was tripped by Sean Kane, paving the way for Song Ui-young to send Doblas the wrong way from 12 yards for the sealer.

With the surprising win, Home overtook Ceres to set up a semi-final meeting with Persija Jakarta, while the Group F runners-up will now take on Yangon United in the knockout round.

CERES-NEGROS: Toni Doblas, Junior Munoz, Carli de Murga (Manuel Herrera 76’), Sean Kane, Jeffrey Christiaens, Stephan Schrock (Martin Steuble 64’), Omid Nazari, Patrick Reichelt (Arnie Pasinabo Jr. 85’), Mike Ott, OJ Porteria, Bienvenido Maranon.

HOME UNITED: Rudy Khairullah, Shahrin Saberin, Juma’at Jantan, Faizal Roslan, Fazli Ayob, Izzdin Shafiq (Amiruldin Asraf 90+3’), M. Anumanthan, Aqhari Abdullah, Song Ui-young, Hafiz Nor (Christopher van Huizen 88’), Shahril Ishak (Amy Recha 82’).