Ceres Negros FC are set to open their AFC Cup campaign with a home match against Cambodian side Boeung Ket Angkor on Tuesday 13 February 2018 at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod City.
The 2017 Philippines Football League champions began their season last month by going all the way to the AFC Champions League Play-off round following wins over Myanmar’s Shan United and Australia’s Brisbane Roar in the preliminary round.
Following their loss to Tianjin Quanjian, which relegated them back to the AFC Cup, Ceres are looking forward to reclaim the ASEAN Zone title it won last year. Ceres are in Group F along with Boeung Ket, Shan United, and Singaporean side Home United.
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic, who has seen Ceres turn from a provincial underdog team to a perennial contender in South East Asia, sees a match as a chance for the team to rewrite history once again.
“This game is very important because it’s the first game, it’s at home, and because we need to win. What we did before is forgotten already so it doesn’t mean anything for us. We have to go forward, we have to focus on the AFC Cup.” said Vidakovic. “All the teams know now that when they play against us, they have to be serious. We have to work more because everything we’ve done before, we have to prove now. That we are real, that we are a team.”
Boeung Ket Angkor secured their qualification to the AFC Cup after a 4-3 aggregate win over Lao Toyota FC last week. Midfielder Omid Nazari expects the Cambodian side to put up a fight in Bacolod.
“It’s first game and everyone is extra excited,” said Nazari. “It’s gonna be a tough game but were prepared.”
Photo from Mymy Alagaban