Global Cebu FC survives late JDT fightback to regain top spot in AFC Cup group

BACKED against the wall, Global Cebu FC turned up the heat in the first half before holding on late to take a 3-2 win against Johor Darul Ta'zim in the 2017 AFC Cup on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The hosts turned the tables on the 2015 champions, bouncing back from a 4-0 defeat against the same club in Malaysia three weeks ago to regain top spot in the group with nine points - two clear of their victims. 

"It's a very big thing for us to get all three points. We played very well in the first half," said Global coach Imai Toshiaki, who was without injured hitman Misagh Bahadoran.

Misfiring in Johor, Global strung three goals in a span of eight minutes sparked by a Dennis Villanueva goal off a scramble in the 27th minute.

The usually sturdy backline of JDT showed cracks in the ensuing minutes with Shu Sasaki and Amani Aguinaldo both benefiting from leakouts.

Sasaki found the JDT backline sleeping to conveniently score the second in the 32nd minute while Aguinaldo scored an unlikely goal off the counter when he smashed in Darryl Roberts' back pass to make it three-nil before the half.

Global, however, had to endure scary moments after two goals from Gabriel Guerra nearly turned the tide for the visiting side.

The Argentinean pulled one back with a screamer three minutes after the interval before he completed a brace in the 83rd minute off a Mohd Izham assist.

Thankfully for Global, the Malaysians never got the equalizer.

"Our players need more experience, it showed in the second half in those crucial situations. They (JDT) pressed and they attacked quickly," Imai continued.

In the other match of the group, Boeung Ket Angkor drew with Magwe 1-1 to remain in third place in the group with four points. Magwe stayed at the bottom with two points. 

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