It was heartbreak for Ceres Negros FC after they conceded a late goal to Becamex Binh Duong to lose, 0-1, in the final game of the Group Stage of the 2019 AFC Cup on Wednesday night at the Panaad Park and stadium in Bacolod.
Despite the loss, the Busmen will still advance to the ASEAN zone semifinal after finishing on top of Group G.
With six players on a yellow card and a spot in the semifinal secured, Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic selected a rotated starting XI to face-off against the Vietnamese club.
On the other hand, Becamex had everything to play for. The Vietnam squad needed maximum points to boost their chances of making it into the next round of the competition.
The visitors received a gift early on, after Ceres defender Sean Kane fouled a Becamex attacker inside the penalty area the seventh minute. Fortunately for the hosts, Nguyen Anh Duc couldn't even get his spot kick on target.
The Busmen dominated possession in the first 45 minutes, but could not find the back of the net. In fact, it was the visitors who registered more shots on target in the first half.
Becamex and Ceres toiled throughout the most of the second half to find the opener, and it was the visitors who hit pay dirt.
Seeing keeper Roland Muller off his line, Wander Luiz floated a high ball from long range to get the game's only goal in the 88th minute.
Ceres piled on the pressure in an effort to salvage an equalizer, but could not find the back of the net.
The Philippine club ends the group stage with 15 points from six games, scoring 15 goals and conceding only six.
Ceres Negros moves on the ASEAN zone semifinal, where they will play Group G winners Hanoi FC.