MANILA – Ceres-Negros came up short of finally barging to the AFC Champions League group stages after FC Tokyo braved a soggy Ajinomoto Stadium pitch to take a 2-0 win in the final phase of the qualifiers on Tuesday night.
Both clubs struggled to find their offensive groove in the first half as the continuous rain showers in Tokyo made it hard for the ball to even roll.
But Sei Muroya finally found the goal for FC Tokyo in the 48th minute as a Ceres Negros defender slipped while trying to take the ball away, opening a gap for Muroya to chip the ball past Roland Muller.
Ceres-Negros got a huge chance to equalize as FC Tokyo went down to 10 men in the 79th minute due to a red card given to Taichi Hara for elbowing Tadashi Odawara in an aerial sequence.
But Ceres-Negros missed the services of Stephan Schrock, who was suspended for accumulative yellow cards, as the club failed to capitalize, and Adailton Dos Santos sealed the win for FC Tokyo with an 89th minute goal.
Ceres-Negros is relegated to the AFC Cup, where Bali United and Than Quang Ninh await the reigning Philippines Football League champion in Group G. (PNA)