Isuzu UTE A-League leaders Macarthur qualify for AFC Cup knockout round

Macarthur's Ali Auglah takes us inside his remarkable footballing journey from Australia to Iraq and back again. He talks of the important role his culture, religion and family have played in his career journey thus far.

High-flying Macarthur FC advanced to the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-finals as Group F winners after defeating Dynamic Herb Cebu 3-0.

Macarthur – unbeaten and top of the Isuzu UTE A-League standings – sealed their place in the knockout phase thanks to goals from Matt Millar, Jed Drew and Ali Auglah on Thursday.

The victory in Manila ensured the Bulls topped Group F with 15 points from six games, three points ahead of Cambodian runners-up Phnom Penh Crown as Macarthur joined fellow A-Leagues outfit Central Coast Mariners in the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals.

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Macarthur’s next appearance in the AFC Cup will come in February. Mile Sterjovski’s men – through to the knockout phase for the first time ever – will join Phnom Penh, Malaysia’s Sabah FC and the Mariners in the knockouts.

On the road in the Philippines, Millar put Macarthur ahead inside three minutes after rising highest to head home Kearyn Baccus’ cross.

Daniel De Silva had a chance to make it 2-0 18 minutes later but he was unable to beat Cebu goalkeeper Florencio Badelic.

Cebu pushed numbers forward in search of an equaliser, but Macarthur were in control.

The home side, though, should have equalised in the second half when Filip Kurto could only parry a Ryoo Togashi shot straight at the feet of the Cebu midfielder. However, with the goal at his mercy, he somehow sent his effort over the crossbar.

Substitute Drew gave the Bulls some breathing space when he made it 2-0 in the 67th minute.

Macarthur controlled possession during the closing stages and Auglah added some gloss to the scoreline after firing home in the 93rd minute.