Ceres-Negros FC triumphed against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) on Wednesday night after late drama in the opponents' penalty box helped secure a 2-1 win on the night and a 4-4 result on aggregate, with the Philippines side going through to the AFC Cup ASEAN zone final on the away goals rule.
Ceres' head coach, Risto Vidakovic was adamant that if the match was seen over the 180 minutes, that his team qualifying for the zonal final was a justified outcome.
"It was a tough game and it was difficult to control emotions especially when you need to win. We played a very good first half. Second half JDT played well. Overall, I think we deserve it to qualify."
"It was very hard to play in the second half becaues they pressed high and our players were tired. We were lucky it was a penalty and we scored. The most important thing is that we go forward," said Vidakovic in the post-match press conference.
When asked about the zonal final match against Singapore's Home United, Vidakovic said that there will be plenty of time to prepare for that match and the focus of the team right now is to enjoy the win as well as focus on domestic matches before the encounter in August.
"We have a lot of time. Tonight [Wednesday] we celebrate the win," added Vidakovic.
Fernando Rodriguez emerged as the hero for his side after he converted the controversial penalty in stoppage time in the second half to pick his team up from a losing position into a winning one. The striker opted to send his shot straight down the middle and he explains the decision making behind that.
"I was confident to score and I just want to do it for my family. Usually the goal keeper always choose one side and very seldom they stay in the middle, that's why I shoot down the middle," said Rodriguez.