Ceres loses to Yangon United, advances to finals on aggregate
By Jerome S. Galunan, Jr.
Ceres-Negros FC lost to Myanmar’s Yangon United FC, 3-2, earlier this week in the return leg of the 2018 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semifinal at the Thuwunna Stadium; however, with the Negrense club winning 4-2 in the first leg, the Bacolod-City based side advanced to the finals, 6-5 on aggregate.
The home side struck early with a goal in the second minute by midfielder Kosuke Uchida. Six minutes later, Ceres FC midfielder Manuel Ott delivered the equalizer.
The match remained drawn 1-1 until the 78th minute, when Ceres midfielder Bienvenido Marañón put the visiting side up 2-1 after getting the ball around defender Thein Zaw. However, amid his goal celebration, he reportedly taunted his opponent, which led to a confrontation. Referees showed the midfielder a red card and ejected him from the match.
In the 83rd minute, Yangon striker Aee Soe capitalized on the advantage and tied up the match, 2-2.
Yangon soon found themselves at the receiving end of a red card after striker Uzochukwu Emmanuel supposedly struck Ceres defender Amani Aguinaldo, earning his second yellow card of the match, resulting in a red card.
In the 87th minute, Ceres defender Carli de Murga reportedly committed a handball in the box, earning Yangon a penalty kick, which forward Sekou Sylla successfully converted.
“We could have played better,” Ott said in an interview with CNN Philippines. “Overall, we are still happy.”
With regard to his red card and subsequent suspension for the first leg of the ASEAN Zone final against Home United of Singapore, Marañón said, “I went to [Thein Zaw] and told him to join me in celebration.”
The upcoming final between Ceres and Home United is a rematch of last year’s ASEAN Zonal finals, where the Bacolod City-based outfit won, 3-2, on aggregate./JSG, WDJ