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Cebu split points with Thanh Hoa in six-goal shootout

Rufo and Global Cebu saved a point from Thanh Hoa after a late fightback. AFC Photo
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA -- Global Cebu came from two goals down late in the match to force a thrilling six-goal stalemate against Thanh Hoa in their final home stand in the AFC Cup Wednesday evening at the Rizal Memorial.

Marjo Allado ignited a late fightback in the final stages of the return fixture against the Vietnamese side that saw both teams and Indonesian outfit Bali United level on five points in Group G heading into the final day after Yangon had a comeback of their own to win the group and seal their spot in the ASEAN zone semifinal.

But it was not enough for all of them as Singapore's Home United effectively ended their interest with a 3-2 home win over Myanmar's Shan that brought the Protectors to 10 points in Group F.

With only 14 players available, the visitors thought that they have sent the Queen City outfit packing as they dominated the first half, taking the lead just two minutes in courtesy of Edward Ofere.

However, Rufo duly equalized four minutes later only for Le Thanh Binh to unleash a long bomb in the 26th minute for the 2-1 Thanh Hoa heading into the break.

Thanh Hoa then made it 3-1 in the 57th, with Ofere turning provider as he picked out Hoang Dinh Tung, and the midfielder made no mistake from inside the box.

With their campaign on the line, Allado made a massive gamble by swapping Wesley Dos Santos and Paul Mulders away from their usual places, with the Brazilian taking a more attacking role as they searched for goals.

The gamble paid off with eight minutes left, when Dos Santos headed home from a diagonal ball by Paolo Bugas in their own half to give them semblance of hope.

Then Cebu completed the improbable a minute before full time, as a corner by Bugas landed into Darryl Roberts, who tucked another header from close range.

Patrick Deyto then stopped Ryutaro Karube's last ditch free kick to end their homestand unbeaten.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada