Global Cebu, Ceres-Negros advance to 2017 AFC Cup knockout stage

Santino Honasan, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at May 04 2017 10:02 AM

Bienvenido Marañon was the man for Ceres-Negros as he helped The Busmen advance into the next round of the 2017 AFC Cup. Photo from ABS-CBN Sports.

For the second straight year, two Filipino clubs punch their tickets to the knockout stages of the AFC Cup, as Global Cebu FC and Ceres-Negros FC closed out the group stages with big wins and finished at the top of their respective groups, Wednesday evening. 

At the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila, Global Cebu secured their Zonal Semifinals spot with a 3-1 win over Cambodian club Boeungket Angkor. 

Paul Mulders got things going early for the Pinoy side, scoring in the 12th minute, while Japanese forward Pika Minegishi doubled the lead for "The People's Club" in the 28th minute mark. 

The visitors showed some life in the second half, with Sath Rosib pulling one back and making things interesting in the 50th minute. 

Global managed to protect their lead up until the last minute, before Darryl Roberts sealed the win for the home team with a third goal in the third minute of injury time. 

With the win, Global Cebu FC finished at the top of Group F with 15 points on five wins and one loss. 

Also advancing from Group F are 2015 AFC Cup champions Johor Darul Ta'zim. The Malaysian powerhouse club finished behind Global with four wins one draw, and one loss for 13 points. 

Over at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Bacolod-based Ceres-Negros FC dominated Singaporean side Tampines Rovers, 4-2. 

With only one team getting to advance from their group and a much closer race to the finish line, "The Busmen" delivered a dominating performance, led by star striker Bienvenido Marañon, who struck twice early in the second half to put the Filipino club ahead by two, 22 minutes into the match. 

Tampines' Muhammad Yasir Bin Hanapi responded in the 24th minute to trim the Pinoy lead to just a single goal, but Ceres-Negros would get a break and halt the Singaporean side's momentum with a penalty conversion from Fernando Rodriguez in the 44-minute mark. 

Muhammad Yasir would again hit for Tampines in the 60th minute to make it just a 3-2 lead for Ceres-Negros, but Kota Kawase would respond five minutes later to make it a 4-2 cushion. 

Ceres-Negros held on to win managed to keep their 2017 AFC Cup campaign alive, finishing atop Group G with 11 points on three wins, two draws, and a loss. 

The race in Group G was so close that Ha Noi also finished with eleven points after defeating Felda United, 4-1. Luckily for Ceres-Negros, they were a +8 on goal difference, compared to Ha Noi's +4. 

The ASEAN Semifinals will feature Global Cebu FC taking on Singapore's Home United and Johor Darul Ta'zim taking on Ceres-Negros FC in a two-leg home and away series. 

This article originally appeared on the ABS-CBN Sports website.