CERES-LA SALLE fell short of a berth in the group stage in the Asian Football Confederation Cup as it bowed to Maziya of Maldives, 1-0, on the opponent’s turf at the National Stadium in Male on Tuesday night.
The Philippine club surrendered a goal late in the second half, kissing its aspirations of making the main phase of the prestigious continental tournament goodbye.
That leaves Global FC as the country’s only representative, having been chosen by the Philippine Football Federation as the automatic qualifier after ruling the United Football League last year.
Global starts its campaign against Hong Kong side South China on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Earning a playoff after conquering the UFL Football Alliance League Cup last year, Ceres held the hosts scoreless for most of the match only to concede one eight minutes before stoppage no thanks to Maldivian defender Mohamed Samdhooh, whose volley outside the box sailed past goalkeeper Michael Casas.
It was another heartbreak in Maldives for Azkals Patrick Reichelt, Manny Ott, Juani Guirado, and Martin Steuble after the national team barely missed a place in the AFC Asian Cup following a 1-0 loss to Palestine in the Challenge Cup final in the same venue last year.