AFC Cup: JDT grab narrow edge vs Ceres Negros in zonal semis
JOHOR BAHRU – Philippines Football League side Ceres-Negros picked up two crucial away goals but it wasn’t enough to take the advantage in their AFC Cup Asean zonal semifinal tie against Johor Darul Ta’zim Wednesday night at Larkin Stadium here.
JDT, the 2015 AFC Cup champion, rallied from a goal down to snatch a 3-2 victory over the Bacolod side in an enthralling clash witnessed by 14,280 fans.
Argentine striker Gonzalo Cabrera put the hosts in front with a well placed strike past Roland Muller in the 18th minute, before Ceres equalized through Fernando Rodriguez’s diving header off a cross from OJ Porteria.
The Busmen led 2-1 after Bienvenido Maranon scored with a curling strike from long range in the 25th minute, but goals from Safiq Rahim in the 44th minute and Hazwan Bakri in the 68th minute gave the Malaysians the edge.
Ceres nearly went ahead in first half stoppage time but Porteria skied his effort after the JDT defense misjudged Manny Ott’s delivery.
Porteria also forced a diving save from Farizal Marlias eight minutes after the restart, before Ott had a free kick saved in the 66th minute.
JDT scored a third goal with a slice of good fortune three minutes later when Hazwan’s quick turn and shot was deflected by Super Herrera and wrongfooted Muller.
Ceres needs at least a 1-0 win in the second leg at Panaad Stadium on May 31 to advance on away goals.
The other semifinal pits another PFL side, Global Cebu, and Singapore’s Home United, which snatched a late equalizer to forge a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Rizal Memorial Stadium last Tuesday.
The second leg will be played at Jalan Besar Stadium on May 30.
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