By Kevin Estrada
MANILA -- S.League outfit Home United bagged a massive home win to put one foot closer to the AFC Cup Inter-zonal final after downing PFL's Ceres Negros in the first leg of their ASEAN Zone final Wednesday evening in Singapore's Jalan Besar Stadium.
Aidil Shahrin's debut as the new gaffer of the Protectors got off to a rousing start, scoring both halves to come away with a valuable 2-1 win, albeit a lot talking points that will be discussed heading into the return fixture in Bacolod.
Just eleven minutes into the match, Stipe Plazibat put Home in front with a calmly-taken spot kick that sent Roland Muller the wrong way after he was tripped supposedly by both Carli De Murga and Fernando Rodriguez.
The Busmen had two chances for an equalizer twenty minutes later but both goals were disallowed by the referee crew of Hiroyuki Kimura.
Kevin Ingreso's free kick went into the net in the 28th minute but the linesman caught Carli De Murga offside.
However the same offside call continued to haunt Ceres Negros when the Spaniard's tap in was nullified when the flag was raised on Iain Ramsay.
But the Busmen persisted with their attacking play and were rewarded deep into first half stoppage with a vital away goal courtesy of Martin Steuble, with the skipper fired a bouncing shot that went past Hassan Sunny in a rare howler for Singapore's number one shot-stopper to level things at 1-1 at the break.
Second half became a pretty even affair but both teams could not find the breakthrough as both Muller and Hassan launched a battle between the sticks until Home got ahead with seven minutes left.
On loan from the reserves of already eliminated Johor Darul Ta'zim, Singapore international Hariss Harun won it for the Protectors, poking the rebound after Muller initially stopped his header.