Ceres-Negros FC and Kaya Iloilo started their AFC Cup campaign in a good note in winning their first match in the Group Stage.
The reigning Philippines Football League (PFL) champion Ceres-Negros beat Cambodian club Svay Rieng, 4-0 in Group G match at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium last February 11th.
Takashi Odawara found the back of the net in the 12th minute to begin the barrage of goals for the Busmen. Joshua Grommen followed it, two minutes later while Bienvenido Maranon added two goals in the second half, recorded in 55th and 70th minute.
“It was not an easy game,” Ceres coach Risto Vidaković said via ESPN 5. “The score may be high, but it was not easy. They run a lot. But we deserved to win because we created a lot of chances.”
Maranon, the top scorer in last year’s AFC Cup, is also happy with the performance of the club in their first game in the 2020 AFC Cup after failing to clinch a Group Stage spot in the AFC Champions League.
“Yeah, I feel so happy for the score and for the goals. I think we’re doing a good job. We showed this in the Champions League and [we’re showing] it now in the AFC Cup,” Maranon said via Rappler.
Revamped Kaya Iloilo under new coach Oliver Colina, started his tenure with a 2-0 win over Shan United in Group H action held at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar last February 12th to register their first full point in the tournament.
Jovin Bedic scored via a penalty kick in the 74th minute and Eric Giganto’s 85th-minute goal was enough to give Colina his first win as Kaya Iloilo coach in the AFC Cup.
“The first half we struggled a little bit, but we turned things around in the second half,” said Colina via ABS-CBN Sports.“We got what we came for. It doesn’t matter if it’s two-nil, one-nil, or whatever. We got the three points, and that was our objective coming here.”
“The penalty changed the game. We scored that goal and the momentum changed. Shan United remained composed, but with all due respect, we’re a strong team also. We just played our game, got our chance and we took it,” Colina added on Bedic’s penalty kick, coming from Shan United foul on Arnel Armita.
Bedic admitted it’s hard to beat Shan United, the Myanmar National League champion especially the Iloilo-based squad is the visiting team and the Burmese squad went toe-to-toe against them, quoted in a report of ESPN 5. “It’s really hard because Shan were the champions here. So it’s really hard to beat them.”
Ceres-Negros will next Vietnamese squad Than Quang Ninh on their next Group G assignment on February 25th while Kaya Iloilo’s next assignment in Group H will be Singapore’s Tampines Rovers on February 26th. Both matches will take place at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.