Preliminary Stage 1: Ceres Negros FC (PHI) 3-2 Shan United FC (MYA)
Manila: Ceres Negros secured their place in the second round of the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage after surviving a late Shan United FC fightback to win 3-2 on Tuesday.
The two teams are familiar foes, having met as recent as in the 2019 AFC Cup Group Stage and having also crossed paths in the 2018 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage, with Ceres Negros emerging victors in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out after that game ended 1-1 in regulation time.
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The Busmen enjoyed a dream start at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday, with Senegalese striker Robert Lopez Mendy slotting home a fifth minute goal off Hikaru Minegishi's cross into the middle of the box.
Ceres Negros kept pushing and were rewarded five minutes from the half-time break when Jose Elmer Porteria's cross from the right cut through the Shan United defence and 2019 AFC Cup top scorer Bienvenido Marañón made no mistake with his strike to the top left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
A counter-attack in the 73rd minute saw Aung Naing's Shan United narrow the deficit as substitute Hein Phyo Win's cross was finished by a diving header from Zin Min Tun.
Shan United, however, saw the deficit restored as a surging Porteria converted Mike Ott's miscued attempt in the box six minutes later.
The reigning Myanmar National League champions, however, continued to press and Djedje Maximin Djawa took advantage of a melee in the box to narrow the deficit in the 87th minute but it would prove to be a mere consolation.
Ceres Negros will hope to maintain their fine form when they travel to Bangkok to play Port FC on January 21 for a place in the Play-off Stage.
Photos: Ceres Negros FC
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