|Southeast Asian Shockers. Global Cebu took the air of invincibility out of Johor Darul Ta'zim in their pivotal AFC Cup tie.|
MANILA -- With the entire Southeast Asia watching, Global Cebu produced the biggest shock in the AFC Cup, knocking off Malaysian powerhouse Johor Darul Ta'zim off their Group F perch Wednesday night at the Rizal Memorial.
A nine-minute blitz in the first half saw the reigning national champs home and hosed despite without Misagh Bahadoran even on the bench, with Toshiaki Imai's men had to compose themselves in the second half to eke out a shocking 3-2 win that put them on top of their group with 9 points, two fewer than their victims.
The shocking result atone for their embarrassment away at Larkin a fortnight ago where Patrick Deyto let in four without any reply at all, ending a six-match winless run by the Pinoy clubs against their Malaysian Super League counterparts in the process.
Despite keeping the ball less than the 2015 titleholders, its pressing game with Shu Sasaki and Hikaru Minegishi in the wings gave JDT fits in the opening exchanges of the game, in which they create more chances than the visiting side.
JDT could have scored the match's first just five minutes in, as Hazwan Bakri was denied by the left post that set the tone for them in the entire first half.
Johor's might in possessions and chances came to naught in the 26th minute, where their backline bucked under immense duress, with Denis Villanueva converting on an outswinging Minegishi cross to beat Izhan Tarmizi just seconds after Kemy Agustien fired the warning shot that rocked the crossbar.
Six minutes after the Villanueva's opener, Sasaki doubled the lead with another cool finish past Tarmizi after a trap-busting through ball by Minegishi that caught Marcos Antonio and Aidil Zafuan by surprise.
Global then added more salt into the wounded Tigers from the causeway, with Amani Aguinaldo the unlikeliest of people to score their third in the 35th minute, running from both ends on the pitch to convert on Darryl Roberts' ball in the box for a 3-0 lead at the break.
However, a role reversal was evident at the restart, with the former AFC Cup champs starting to pressure the Global backline with a second half brace by Gabriel Guerra kept them into the game.
The Argentine scored his first of it just three minutes at the restart with a low shot, then reducing the deficit further off a Azrif Nasrulhaq low cross to give some flickering hope to their supporters, especially to the Boys of Straits who even came from more than 2000 kilometers from their base.
But Global prevailed in the closing moments, capping off by Deyto saving Brian Ferreira's low shot in the first minute of stoppage time, creating further history for Philippine football in front of the 458 fans.
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