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Tiebreaker Times

AFC Cup

Manuel Herrera header spares Ceres-Negros’ blushes against 10-man Home United


After putting up a dazzling performance in match day one, Ceres-Negros had to settle for a well-earned point against 10-man Home United. Behind for much of the occasion, the 2017 PFL champions were rescued by Spanish defender Manuel “Super” Herrera whose headed effort helped Ceres take home a 1-1 stalemate at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

The Philippine champions forced their opponents to defend their slender advantage after Home United’s Sirina Camara was dismissed four minutes into the second half for a second bookable offense.

It led to more opportunities to the trailing visitors who showed determination to claw back the one-goal deficit. And with 11 minutes left, Risto Vidakovic’s men got their just rewards. Herrera nodded Manny Ott’s corner into the back of the net to claim a much-deserved leveller for Ceres-Negros.

Approaching full time, Ceres nearly stole all the points back to Bacolod. In stoppage time, Ott found himself in a good position to score inside the penalty box. Unfortunately for him, his shot went towards the wrong side of the goalpost.

It could have totally changed the complexion of the match, which would have been unfair to the resolute hosts.

The first half saw a tale of two penalties, starting with Ceres winning one 10 minutes into the game. The men in black got a huge boost when Camara felled Patrick Reichelt inside the box.

Reliable star man Bienve Marañon stepped up to take thw spotkick. To Ceres’ dismay, the Spaniard fluffed his lines as he could only hit the goalpost before Home United cleared the danger away.

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Things got worse for the visitors 13 minutes later when it was Home United’s turn to take a penalty. Shahril Ishak, unlike Marañon, converted from 12 yards.

Home United went to the break 1-0 ahead. Had they preserved the advantage, they would have gone top of Group F with 6 points. Instead, they share the top spot with Ceres who just edges the Singaporean club on goal difference. Not far behind is Shan United who trail the two clubs by a point following their 2-1 away win at bottom table Boeung Ket Angkor.

Up next for Ceres in the AFC Cup is a home tie against Shan United next week. Home United, meanwhile, will visit Boeung Ket Angkor in Cambodia.

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