The defending Philippine Football League Champion, Ceres-Negros FC is once again back in the ASEAN Zonal Finals of the AFC Cup in defeating Yangon United on the aggregate score of 6-5.
The Busmen prepared well for their AFC Cup semifinals against Yangon as they looking back to bounce back after absorbing a defeat against Home United in their last group assignment.
“The most important thing to me is that the players make a big effort,” said Ceres Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic via Inquirer. net. “They have to give everything and I think for me that is enough. We cannot be obsessed with the score, the result.”
Looks like Ceres-Negros got what they want in the first leg of the semifinals held at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City last May 9th as they defeated Yangon United with a score of 4-2.
Ceres-Negros quickly buried Yangon United with their superb performance courtesy of goals from Bienvenido Maranon in the 30th and 44th minute. Patrick Reichelt and Super Herrera punched a goal each during the 32nd and 63rd minute respectively.
But, Yangon United gave Ceres-Negros a little scare after Sekou Sylla scored two goals for the Myanmar-based team during the 54th and 84th minute.
“I think we played really, really well. They had two or three chances and scored two goals so they had a lot of luck, but I think 4-2 is really good for us as we can score at any moment over there. We have to continue like this and keep the ball because we will get chances. We have to play like we did today, we have to try to score and if we do that it’s finished,” said the Spanish striker Maranon via Business World.
Meanwhile, for Reichelt, the team need to work extra time after Ceres-Negros concedes two goals against Yangon United.
“It was a good performance and we’re happy to take this lead, but conceding two goals was a bummer,” said Reichelt via Inquirer.net. ” I guess we just have to work harder next week.”
Prior to coming to Yangon, Myanmar to face Yangon United, Ceres-Negros had to deal with its campaign in the Philippine Football League (PFL). The club already requested the league to reschedule their match against Kaya -Iloilo but the league does not allow to cancel the game. Much worst, it resulted in a 2-0 loss when the match proceeds within days after facing the Yangon United in the first leg of the semis of the AFC Cup.
“Preparation has been terrible,” said Ceres co-captain Martin Steuble via Inquirer.net. “The league and the federation didn’t help us with anything so tomorrow it will all be about how bad we want it and how bad we want to repeat the experience we had last year.”
Meanwhile, Ceres-Negros head coach Vidakovic believes his players can finish the job and will not concede a goal.
“The motivation to go to the final is there,” said Vidakovic through the same Inquirer.net report. “I don’t have any doubts about my players because I know they will give 100 percent.”
In the leg 2 of the semifinals held at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar last May 16th, the Busmen suffered a 3-2 loss against the Yangon United but, the good news is, the Busmen will move on the ASEAN Zonal Finals, thanks to 6-5 aggregate win over Yangon United.
Kozuke Yamasaki first put the Yangon United on the scoreboard during the first two minutes of the match. Aee Soe and Sekou Sylla also scored for Yangon United during the 83rd and 87th minute. Time was not on the side of the Yangon as Ceres-Negros tighten their defense to prevent their opponent to score a goal.
“It was a game we were expecting. We knew they would do well here. But I’m super proud of my team. We stuck together and played with much professionalism,” said Ceres co-captain Martin Steuble via Business World.
“It was not our best game but we are satisfied. We came here to win a spot in the finals and we were able to that,” Steuble added.
Manny Ott and Bienvenido Maranon registered goals for Ceres-Negros during the 8th and 79th minute.
Ceres-Negros will face again Home United of Singapore in the ASEAN Zonal finals that will take place on August. Home United defeated Persija Jakarta, with a score of 6-3 to aggregate in another semifinal match up to advance to the Zonal Finals.
In the last year edition of the AFC Cup, Ceres-Negros defeated Home United, with a score of 3-2 on aggregate in the Zonal Finals. Ceres-Negros advanced to inter-zonal playoff semifinals, which they lost to FC Istiklol of Tajikistan, 5-1 on aggregate.