A two-goal swing in five minutes was all Hanoi needed to eliminate Ceres Negros from the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Semifinals with a 2-1 win in the second leg at the Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam on Tuesday night.
Hanoi made the most out of the homecourt edge by going aggressive against a Ceres Negros side aching to get an away goal back after conceding one in Bacolod last week.
Hanoi broke through in the 59th minute as Pape Omar Faye found an open lane from the right side of the box for the match’s first goal.
Nguyen Van Quyet followed it up in the 64th minute as he took advantage of a costly handling error from Stephan Schrock to put Hanoi up, 2-0.
Curt Dizon threatened to mount a comeback for Negros after scoring in the 85th minute.
Negros had two huge chances to steal the draw in stoppage time, but Hanoi’s defense held fort. Hanoi won the two-game series, 3-2, on aggregate.
With Hanoi coming into the second leg with an away goal after their 1-1 draw with the Busmen in the first leg, the Filipino club could not afford a scoreless draw.
Despite that advantage, the Vietnam club had to play the second leg without top goal scorer Ganiyu Oseni due to injury. Ceres on the other hand fielded an unchanged lineup from their first leg meeting.
The Busmen were dealt a blow early with leftback Martin Steuble exiting the game due to an injury just 15 minutes into the contest. Jeffrey Christiaens came off the bench to replace the ailing Steuble.
Hanoi enjoyed most of the possession in the opening skirmishes, eager to test the Ceres defenders at every given opportunity. The home side kept the pressure on the Filipino team throughout the first half, but could not find an opening goal.
The second half saw a more clinical Hanoi squad take the field, as they finally took converted on their chances against the Busmen.
The Vietnamese team got on the board after Omar Faye drilled in a cross from Van Quyet in the 58th minute, despite Ceres protests of offside. Things got worse for the Philippine club after Van Quyet went from provider to goal scorer, doubling Hanoi’s lead just six minutes later.
Ceres would pull a goal back after Curt Dizon made it 2-1 with just five minutes left in regulation, ensuring a pressure-packed end to the game.
The Busmen threw bodies forward in search of an equalizer, but would ultimately fall short and crash out in the semifinal stage. (PNA and ESPN)