A late strike from Hariss Harun was required for Singapore's Home United to gain a vital 2-1 win over Philippine's Ceres Negros in the first leg of the ASEAN Zone final of the AFC Cup on Wednesday.
It was Home United who began the game well, surging into the lead as early as in the 11th minute when Fernando Rodriguez upended him inside the area and the referee was forced to award the penalty. Plazibat coolly slotted home the spotkick.
A shocked Ceres Negros threatened to hit back immediately but saw two goals from Kevin Ingreso and Rodriguez ruled out for offside. But they kept chipping away throughout the first half and found their reward at the fag end of the half.
Captain Martin Stueble let fly a speculative 30-yard effort which bounced up awkwardly in front of the goalkeeper and found the back of the net in first half stoppage time.
However, the Home United goalkeeper made amends of sort when he acrobatically kept out Iain Ramsey's deflected header in the 77th minute. Seven minutes later, Home United fans were send into delirium when Hariss Harun stabbed home at the second attempt at the back post after Faris Ramli found him from a freekick.
Though Home United have the lead ahead of the second leg in Bacolod City on August 9th, the away goal means Ceres will also fancy their chances.