Ceres-Negros survive Yangon fightback to reach ASEAN final

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Ceres-Negros are through to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone final with a 6-5 aggregate win over Yangon United despite losing 3-2 in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg.

The Myanmar National League outfit got off to a dream start at the Thuwunna Stadium in the second minute when a long throw by Nan Wai Min was diverted into the path of Kosuke Uchida, who hammered a first-time volley into the far corner.

But, just six minutes later, Ceres equalised when Manny Ott won possession from Yan Lin Aung outside the Yangon area before racing into the box to meet Stephan Schrock’s return pass and stab his shot past Kyaw Zin Htet.

The visitors then grabbed the crucial second away goal in the 79th minute when Bienvenido Maranon found space inside the box and deceived Zin Htet with a low shot that trickled just inside the near post.

Nonetheless, Maranon’s decision to taunt Thein Zaw in the immediate aftermath saw him sent off by referee Ko Hyung-jin, leaving his side having to defend their advantage for the remainder of the contest a man down.

The numerical difference proved telling in the 83rd minute when Aee Soe lashed home from close range to make it 2-2 on the day, after Sekou Sylla did well to keep a deep cross alive at the back post.

It was then Yangon’s turn to be reduced to ten men as well as Uzochukwu Emmanuel looked to have hit out with a hand to the face of Amani Aguinaldo.

Still, the hosts continued to push forward with endeavour and they made it 3-2 in the 87th minute courtesy of a Sylla penalty, after Uchida’s goal-bound effort had been blocked by Carli de Murga with his hand.

However, they were just unable to find another goal to force extra-time, as Ceres kept alive their hopes of being crowned AFC Cup ASEAN Zone champions for a second consecutive season.

YANGON UNITED: Kyaw Zin Htet, Nan Wai Min, Thein Zaw (Kyaw Htoo 89’), Kekere Moukailou, Min Kyaw Khant, Kosuke Uchida, Yan Lin Aung (Kyi Lin 69’), Maung Maung Lwin, Uzochukwu Emmanuel, Kyaw Zin Oo (Aee Soe 75’), Sekou Sylla.

CERES-NEGROS: Toni Doblas, Junior Munoz, Carli de Murga, Sean Kane (Amani Aguinaldo 81′), Martin Steuble, Kevin Ingreso, Omid Nazari, Manny Ott, Patrick Reichelt (Mike Ott 60′), Bienvenido Maranon, Stephan Schrock (OJ Porteria 90+7′).