Wander Luiz netted a stunning 88th-minute strike to hand Becamex Binh Duong a 1-0 win at Ceres-Negros and seal their place in the ASEAN Zone semi-finals of AFC Cup 2019.
Needing a win to progress as the best runners-up of the three ASEAN Zone groups, it initially looked as though the V.League 1 outfit would come up short in their quest.
They had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock in the 8th minute after Victor Mansaray had controversially won a penalty off Sean Kane, but Nguyen Anh Duc could only fire wide despite sending Roland Muller the wrong way.
Wander Luiz then put the ball in the back of the net five minutes after the restart with a bouncing header into the far corner, only for the strike to be disallowed for offside.
Five minutes later, it was Ceres’ turn to be denied by the linesman’s flag when Carli de Murga scrambled the ball home from close range, after Manuel Herrera had headed a Miguel Tanton corner into his path.
But, just when it looked as though a draw was on the cards, Wander came up with a sheer moment of inspiration, nipping in to win possession off Joshua Dutosme down the right touchline before spotting Muller off his line and proceeding to lob him from all of 40 yards.
With the win, Binh Duong overtook Tampines Rovers as the best runners-up by virtue of a superior goal difference and will now meet PSM Makassar in the zonal semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Ceres – who had already sealed their progress before this round – will meet Hanoi FC.
CERES-NEGROS: Roland Muller, Sean Kane, Carli de Murga (Alvaro Silva 79’), Manuel Herrera, Jeffrey Christiaens (Joshua Dutosme 85’), Miguel Tanton, Stephan Schrock, Bienvenido Maranon, OJ Porteria (Curt Dizon 87’), Mike Ott, Mahir Karic.
BECAMEX BINH DUONG: Bui Tan Truong, Ho Tan Tai, Nguyen Thanh Long, Ali Rabo, Nguyen Anh Tai, To Van Vu, Nguyen Trong Huy (Ho Sy Giap 85’), Dinh Hoang Max (Veniamin Shumeyko 70’), Victor Mansaray (Nguyen Tien Linh 64’), Wander Luiz, Nguyen Anh Duc.