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Bacolod City: Ceres Negros will look to overhaul a one-goal deficit in the second leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Final on Wednesday after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Home United in the first leg last week.

Stipe Plazibat’s penalty gave the Singaporean side an early advantage in the first leg, only for Martin Steuble to level for Ceres on the stroke of half-time.

However, Hariss Harun’s late goal put Home United in the driving seat for the right to play Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol in the Inter-Zone Semi-finals later this month.

Ceres Negros

The defeat in Singapore was Ceres’ third in five away games on the continent but the Filipino side will go into the second leg full of confidence knowing that they have won three from four in front of their own fans.

Indeed, Ceres managed to reverse a 3-2 deficit against 2015 AFC Cup winners Johor Darul Ta’zim of Malaysia in the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals in May to progress on away goals following a 2-1 home win.


Thirteen goals in four games in Bacolod City should make Home United enter Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium with caution, but Ceres will need eight-goal Bienvenido Maranon to rediscover his goalscoring touch after drawing a blank in the first leg.

But, with an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation that also features the trio of Iain Ramsay, Stephan Schrock and focal point Fernando Rodriguez in advanced positions, there is more than just the diminutive Spaniard for the visitors to concern themselves with.

Home United

While Ceres have proven to be strong on home soil, Home United, since an opening-day defeat to Myanmar’s Yadanarbon, have been impressive on the road.

The 2004 semi-finalists scored seven in two games in seeing off Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh 5-4 in the Group Stage and drawing 2-2 on their last trip to the Philippines before defeating Global FC 5-4 on aggregate to progress to the ASEAN Zonal Final.

Plazaibat opens the scoring in the first leg

Five of those goals were scored by the prolific Plazibat, who enjoyed a stunning four-goal haul against the Vietnamese, before levelling at the death in Manila.

The eight-goal Croatian was quiet in the first leg but still got on the scoresheet from the spot, while Faris Ramli and Khairul Nizam are also constant threats, as the former proved in delivering an inch-perfect free-kick to tee up Harun for the winning goal in the first leg.

Ones To Watch

Ceres Negros vs Home United
Venue: Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium
Kick-off: August 9, 19:30 UTC+8

Suspensions: None

Photos: Stephen Tan, Lagardere Sports