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Home Utd grab vital away stalemate as Plazibat break Global hearts at the death

Darryl Roberts drew first blood for Global Cebu on a breakaway from Minegishi's pass.
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- S-League's Home United had snatched a vital draw away at ten-man Global Cebu in the most dramatic fashion, eking out a 2-2 draw in their first leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone Semifinal tonight at the Rizal Memorial.

The visiting Protectors came back from a goal down twice over the short-handed hosts and will have two away goals to bring back to the Lion City two weeks from now, as both sides scored on each half to split the pot heading into the return leg.

Global Cebu will have to rue their missed chances, as well as shortage in manpower in the next leg, with Marjo Allado will have to ponder his defensive formation in Jalan Besar after Amani Aguinaldo has been tossed to the showers in the second half, as he already started the semifinal one centre-back short after Wesley Dos Santos has been suspended on cards.

In what has been an equal battle between two group winners, it was the home side who struck first just fifteen minutes in, when Darryl Roberts converted on a Hikaru Minegishi pass to chip it to the back of Hassan Sunny's net for his fourth goal of the tournament.

However Adam Swandi equalized 18 minutes later, tapping the ball into the empty net after Faris Ramli wiggled away from Jerry Barbaso to put the half on even footing at a goal apiece.

But Aguinaldo regained the lead for the Queen City outfit seven minutes after the restart, beating everyone from a Kemy Agustien corner with a shot to the roof.

Stipe Plazibat's introduction right after the goal changed the game in favor of the away side, as he was at hand with two plays that tilted the tie in their balance.

The Croatian duly draw Aguinaldo's second bookable offence in the 76th minute when he was harshly tackled to the right leg after beating the centre-back on the turn.

With four added minutes after the 90th minute, more drama ensued as Sunny showed his form that frustrated the Azkals in the Suzuki Cup last November, denying Minegishi and late substitute Misagh Bahadoran with timely shot-stopping, the first of them even hit the crossbar.

And in the final play of the game, Plazibat made the man advantage count by rising from a header from a Song Ui-Yong corner that made the score interesting as it goes to Singapore for the second leg.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada