Ceres-Negros’ luck in the AFC Champions League playoffs ran out after suffering a 2-0 defeat in the hands of FC Tokyo last January 28th, in the final stage of the playoff round for the Group Stage slot of the Champions League.
Sei Muroya and Brazilian midfielder Adailton found the back of the net for the Japanese club during the 48th and 89th minute respectively at the delight of the home crowd at the Ajinomoto stadium in Tokyo, Japan that allowed FC Tokyo, a squad finished second in the J1-League last season to move in the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League.
This is the second time Ceres-Negros failed to qualify for the Group Stage after suffering the same fate against Chinese club Tianjin Quianjian in the final stage of the playoff round in 2018.
Despite failing to advance in the Group Stage for the second time, Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic still praised the performance of the squad in the playoff round, especially his club only prepared for days to defeat Shan United of Myanmar and upset Thai FA Cup tittlist Port FC, a week later.
“In general, we can be happy with the performance of the team,” said Vidakovic via The Manila Times.
Vidakovic meanwhile ruled the weather condition on their performance against FC Tokyo adding: “It was a very difficult game for both teams because of the weather conditions,”
‘’No team is a favorite in this kind of pitch.” Vidakovic referring to a wet pitch due to drizzles experience in the area and cold temperature, Japan usually accustomed, with Ceres-Negros need to adjust in those settings especially the club accustomed to tropical climate setting.
“Maybe it worked better for us. Maybe not. We don’t know. But they deserve to win.”
Ceres-Negros once again will compete in the AFC Cup for the fifth straight year this coming February with their first assignment is against Cambodian club Svay Rieng on February 11th at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Ceres-Negros was bracketed in Group G together with Svay Rieng, Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam and Bali United of Indonesia.
Qatar Airways sponsors PFL for three years
International flight carrier Qatar Airways and Philippine Football Federation (PFF) signed a three-year agreement last January 26th at Qatar Airways headquarters in Doha, Qatar to sponsor the Philippines Football League (PFL) until 2022.
Under the agreement, Qatar Airways will be the title sponsor and official airline partner of PFL, on time of its fourth season, starting in March with Ceres-Negros look to extend their championship reign for the fourth straight year.
The partnership was a boost for the pledging and struggling PFL, which is having difficulty to gain traction in the domestic front after the league founded in 2017 to replace United Football League (UFL) as the top-tier football league in the Philippines.
“We thank Qatar Airways for their willingness to help bolster Philippine football by establishing a partnership with PFF as Airline Partner and Title Sponsor of the PFL,” said PFF President Mariano ‘’Nonong’’ Araneta via BusinessWorld.
“The PFF, together with Qatar Airways, will pave the way in forging the sustainability of professional club football in the country,” Araneta added
The partnership between Qatar Airways and PFF was revealed late last year after the re-election of Araneta as PFF president, promising the money spent by the federation to PFL will be allocated to other programs, like the grassroots program.
Qatar Airways is not new in sponsoring football tournaments as the flight carrier sponsored the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.
The Doha-based flight carrier is also sponsoring the 2022 FIFA World Cup, set to stage in Qatar.
Bayern Munich, AS Roma and CA Boca Juniors are among Qatar Airways- backed clubs.