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Wander-ful Becamex stuns Ceres-Negros to clinch final ASEAN zonals ticket

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By Kevin Estrada

Becamex Binh Duong took the final spot in the ASEAN zome semifinals of the AFC Cup after firing a late winner to snap Ceres Negros FC’s unbeaten run in Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

A clever strike by Wander Luiz two minutes from full time gave the V. League side the all important three points, as they booked their place into the knockout phase by the slimmest of goal difference, knocking off Singapore’s Tampines Rovers after both sides ended the group phase tied up at 13 points apiece.

Becamex also made history as they were the second club to blank the powerful Busmen since Home United put two goals without any reply in their group stage finale last year.

Despite securing their passage to the ASEAN Zone semi-final, Risto Vidakovic still had few tweaks into their squad, with club captain Martin Steuble among those who were relegated to the bench as Jeffrey Christiaens took his spot at left-back.

Becamex blew their chance to go ahead just eight minutes in. Sean Kane’s blushes were saved after his conceded penalty was not converted by Nguyen Anh Duc who hit it wide to the right.

That was the only major flashpoint in the first half where the visitors dominated the proceedings, where they get the edge on attacks.

At the restart Ceres had a point that Carli de Murga’s goal should have stand, but the linesman said otherwise despite pleas that Nguyen Ahn Tai was on the line in front of the centre-half.

Becamex peppered Roland Muller with numerous shots as the time ran out, but Luiz scored one of the contenders for goal of the tournament in the 88th minute.

The Brazilian picked off the ball from substitute Joshua Dutosme who came on at left-back, then caught Muller off his line with a long distance shot from deep into the right wing.

Ceres did not recover from that, and their winning run at five matches was empathically snapped, raising more questions then answers when they will face another Vietnamese side in Hanoi in the next round that will happen in June.

Ceres Negros (4-4-2): Muller (GK), Kane, Super, Mike Ott, Maranon, Tanton, Karic, Poteria (Dizon 87′), Schrock, De Murga (Alvaro Silva 80′), Christiaens (Dutosme 85′)

Becamex Binh Duong (4-4-2): Tan Truong (GK), Tan Tai, Thanh Long, Anh Tai, Wander Luiz, Anh Duc (C), Mansaray (Tien Linh 64′), Trong Huy (Sy Giap 85′), Van Vu, Hoang Max (Veniamin 70′), Ali Rabo