Ceres-Negros continued their quest for a Group Stage slot in beating Thai FA Cup champion Port FC, 1-0 in the AFC Champions League playoff game, held at the PAT Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand last January 21st.
Stephan Schrock scored in the 51st minute for the Bacolod-based squad to propel the club into the next phase of the playoff round to face J1 League runner-up FC Tokyo.
“We are always capable of producing an upset. We believed in [ourselves] and we worked for this and congratulations to our team,” said Schrock via Rappler.
The last time Ceres-Negros have a deep run in the playoffs in the AFC Champions League is back in 2018 when the Busmen defeated Australian club Brisbane Roar in the second round of the playoff but lost to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian in the final round of playoff for the Group Stage.
“Another real, hard game. Even harder than this one. For us, it’s an experience for the team. We are always fighting to win, we are trying to win, we are tactically working on that,” Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic quoted in the same Rappler article.
The Busmen will face FC Tokyo at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan on January 28th to inch a Group Stage slot of the AFC Champions League for the first time.
Noel Marcaida leaves Kaya Iloilo coaching job
Noel Marcaida parted ways with Kaya Iloilo after a successful stint with the club, resulted in impressive campaigns in the Philippines Football League for the last two seasons and winning the Copa Paulino Alcantara title in 2018.
“It is unfortunate that we now have to part ways, but Kaya FC Iloilo will always occupy a special place in my heart. I will now pursue new paths, but would welcome an opportunity to work with the club again at some point in the future,” Marcaida said in his Facebook post, quoted in the report of Panay News.
“I would like to thank Kaya FC Iloilo for the opportunities accorded to me these last 3 years, during which I have learned a great deal and grown as a person and coach,” Marcaida added.
Marcaida’s contract with Kaya Iloilo expired last 31st December 2019 and was not renewed by the club.
In Marcaida’s time at Kaya Iloilo, the club finished second to eventual champion Ceres-Negros in the PFL for the last two seasons. He is also guided the Iloilo-based club to clinch the 2018 Copa Paulino Alcantara title against the Davao Aguilas.
“I look back proudly on our Copa Paulino Alcantara triumph in 2018, our second-place finish in the following year, and the PFL runner-up positions we secured in both 2018 and 2019,” Marcaida said on his achievements with the club.
“My heartfelt gratitude also goes to the 12th man – the fans and supporters of Kaya. Your ardent and steadfast support made my job a very meaningful one and our matches thrilling and memorable affairs.”
Kaya Iloilo also qualified for the 2018 AFC Cup under Marcaida’s helm, but the club failed to advance beyond the Group Stage.
Aside from Marcaida, Kaya Iloilo also bid goodbye to several players led by Jordan Mintah and Arnie Pasinabo, which bolted to Malaysian club Terengganu II and Ceres-Negros FC. Goalkeeper Ref Cuaresma, Yannick Tuason, and Daryl Roberts also departed the club.
Kaya Iloilo set to compete in the AFC Cup, starting in February but until now, the club is not yet appointing a new coach taking over from Marcaida.