Hazwan proves his point
AHMAD Hazwan Bakri answered questions over his future role at Darul Ta’zim by scoring the winner in the club’s 3-2 victory over Ceres Negros in the AFC Cup Asean zone semi-final first leg at Larkin on Wednesday.
The signing of striker Mohammed Ghaddar from Kelantan for a reported RM2 million has put Hazwan’s place in the line-up in jeopardy but he answered in the only way he knows how, with his performance on the pitch.
Having been denied once in the first half after a spectacular save by Ceres goalkeeper Ronald Muller, Hazwan struck in the 68th minute with a heavily-deflected effort to deceive Muller.
Defender Marcos Antonio Santos said 2015 AFC Cup winners Darul Ta’zim will travel to the Philippines in good heart after recovering from 2-1 down to grab a one-goal advantage for the second leg on May 31.
“It was a tough game but it’s very important we won today,” Antonio told Fox Sports after the match. “We conceded two goals but in football anything can happen. We go to the Philippines now and we’ll try to give our best there to go to the (zone) final.
“We know it will be a tough game because they have a good team. I am confident my team can score goals there. We will try to do our job there.”
Antonio’s defensive partner Dominic Tan, playing due to injuries to Aidil Zafuan Radzak and Fadhli Shas, had a nightmare of an outing and the 20-year-old was replaced early in the second half by Amirulhadi Zainal after nearly gifting Ceres a third goal.
Gonzalo Cabrera fired Darul Ta’zim with an excellent strike after dribbling from near the halfway line in the 18th minute but Ceres stunned Larkin with two quick goals.
Fernando Rodriguez equalised with a stunning diving header three minutes later before Bienvenido Maranon was allowed the freedom to let off a shot by Dominic in the 26th minute.
Safiq Rahim evened the scores in the 44th minute with a header from Fazly Mazlan’s cross before Hazwan grabbed his first goal of the tournament to leave Ceres winless in five meetings with Malaysian opposition. Devinder Singh