Bacolod: Ceres Negros midfielder OJ Porteria was pleased with his side's performance on Tuesday but admitted that they would need to improve their finishing in next week's second leg in Hanoi.
Goals from 2019 AFC Cup leading scorer Bienvenido Marañón of Ceres and Hanoi FC's Pape Omar Faye meant the spoils were shared in the ASEAN Zonal Semi-final first leg tie at Panaad Stadium.
And, while Porteria did praise the effort from his team, Ceres would have been disappointed not to have capitalised on more of their chances, with the away goal meaning the Vietnamese club have a slim advantage.
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ASEAN Zonal Semi-final - 1st Leg: Ceres Negros 1-1 Hanoi FC
ASEAN Zonal SF 1st Leg: Becamex Binh Duong 1-0 PSM Makassar
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"I’m very proud of the team for giving it their all," said Porteria. "It was an intense match that was going back and forth.
"I thought we were more dangerous in the attack, but it just didn’t go our way. Hanoi play with urgency and are always looking to link up with each other which we knew coming into the game.
"It was important that we matched their intensity and I thought we did that very well."
"They have a lot of talented players so we just have to put our chances away in the next game.
"The atmosphere at the stadium was awesome as always."
A year ago, Ceres suffered AFC Cup heartbreak when they were defeated by Singapore's Home United in the ASEAN Zonal Final.
In that two-legged series of matches, the first encounter was also drawn 1-1 in Bacolod.
Porteria believes, though, that the club has taken lessons from that experience and will be prepared for next week's tie in Hanoi.
"It all comes down to who puts their chances away," he said.
"We know that we can create chances, so when the time comes we have to make them count.
"As always we must stay compact and not give them any time to play their game. If we can defend well and put the chances away, I think we can beat them."
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