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FC Buffalo must wait to find out playoff future

AFC Cleveland led the game for less than a minute, but it was all the time the team needed Friday night.

Sergio Manesio’s goal in the 89th minute gave AFC Cleveland a 3-2 victory over FC Buffalo in Buffalo’s final regular season game at Robert Rich All High Stadium in a National Premier Soccer League match.

FC Buffalo got off to a fast start following the one-hour delay due to issues with AFC Cleveland’s bus, but it wasn’t able to hold on and clinch a playoff spot Friday.

AFC Cleveland advances to 7-2-2 with 23 points and FC Buffalo finishes its season at 6-2-4 with 22 points.

FC Buffalo drops to fourth place in the Midwest region. The top four teams in the region make the playoffs, starting July 24. Only the Indiana Fire can knock Buffalo out of the playoffs. The Fire can leapfrog Buffalo with victories in their final two games. They need to make up Friday’s canceled game, and they play a regularly scheduled game Saturday. If the Fire lose one of the two, FC Buffalo takes the No. 4 seed.

To begin Friday’s game, Cleveland goalkeeper Alex Ivanov turned away Rob Brandell’s shot in the ninth minute, but Ngwese Ebangwese was there to tap the loose ball into the net to give FC Buffalo an early 1-0 lead.

AFC Cleveland’s Mike Derezic tied the game in the 23rd minute. But FC Buffalo didn’t wait long to respond as Brian Knapp found Ebangwese for his second goal of the game just six minutes later. Coletun Long tied the game at 2-2 in the 53rd minute.