Ceres-Negros and Kaya Iloilo continued their AFC Cup Group Stage quests in settling into a stalemate against their opponents in their respective homestand.
Ceres-Negros settled into a 2-2 draw against Vietnamese club – Than Quang Ninh in Group G action last February 25th, while Kaya Iloilo fought Tampines Rovers of Singapore into the goalless draw the following day. Both matches took place at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Jeremie Lynch found the back of the net for Than Quang Ninh in the 26th minute but Bienvenido Maranon answered back for Ceres-Negros in the third minute of injury time via a penalty kick for a 1-1 scoreline at the end of the first half.
OJ Porteria scored for Ceres-Negros in the 62nd minute to give the Bacolod-based club a 2-1 lead but Nguyen Hai Huy countered it at the 70th minute to tie things at 2-2 until the final whistle was blown, giving both clubs a point each.
“We didn’t play good today,” said Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic via Tiebreaker Times. “It’s not the way we normally play — we played too slow. We couldn’t read the game (and) exactly what we should do normally… Some players did not play their best. So let’s see what we can do for the next game.”
This is also the same sentiment of Ceres-Negros team captain, quoted in an article of Inquirer.net: ‘’Tonight, we weren’t at our best. It wasn’t our best game, especially defensively. It’s still a point, but this is not a game that everyone expected from us so we have to learn and improve.”
But for Porteria, who scored for Ceres-Negros in the match, he was happy for the effort of his teammates, although he is not satisfied with the result of the game.
“I’m obviously happy and proud of the boys for working hard the whole game. But obviously, we’re not happy that we drew because we want to come out here and win in front of our home crowd, but that’s okay. We’ll go back in training and get better and hopefully, we’ll get the win next game” said Porteria in the same Tiebreaker Times article.
Ceres-Negros remained on top of Group G with four points after the match.
Kaya Iloilo also suffered the same fate of Ceres -Negros against Tampines Rovers after earning a point due to goalless draw against the Singaporean club.
“Actually in the first half, we have played different football. We played a really good game in the first half but… we’re just unlucky we didn’t score a goal in the first half, but we had a lot of chances,” said Kaya head coach Oliver Colina via Tiebreaker Times after both clubs canceled their goal attempts. “At least we still had a draw…For us, it’s good also.”
Kaya Iloilo goalkeeper Michael Casas is happy for the club performance so far in their first two games, especially the club is not yet conceding any goals.
“Before our game, we talked to each other, as long as we don’t concede we cannot lose,” Casas said via ESPN 5. “It’s our second clean sheet. Hopefully, we continue this all throughout the tournament, because we want to go far in the AFC Cup.”
Kaya Iloilo remained on top of Group H with four points, after having a higher goal difference against Tampines Rovers that also tallied four points.
Ceres-Negros will continue their homestand against Bali United on March 11 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium while Kaya Iloilo will visit PSM Makassar, a day earlier at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.