AFC CUP - RD16: CERES LA SALLE FC V SOUTH CHINA PREVIEW
Bacolod City: AFC Cup debutants Ceres La Salle will be banking on the support of their home crowd at Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Tuesday’s AFC Cup last 16 clash with Hong Kong’s South China according to coach Franklin Muescan.
The Filipino club won Group E ahead of Singapore’s Tampines Rovers with an undefeated record, chalking up two of their three wins on their own turf.
But with first-ever place in the quarter-finals at stake against 2013 semi-finalists South China, Muescan (pictured) is looking for a landmark performance from his side in front of their fans.
“South China is a big opponent and probably the best team we will be playing against in the history of the club. But we are the home side and we want to use this advantage,” said Muescan.
“We know that the Hong Kong Premier League is strong and their local players are good. South China is an established club and playing against them will be a great experience.
“It’s hard to pinpoint any weakness in South China, but from our end, we want to show that we have good team spirit and we believe in the quality and capability of our players.”
South China crucially beat India’s Mohun Bagan on the final Matchday a fortnight ago to finish second in Group G behind the I-League side and edge out Myanmar’s Yangon United by a point.
By the mid-way point of the group stage, though, that outcome looked unlikely after three straight defeats. However, under the management of Ricardo Rambo the side surged back to snatch a place in the Round of 16 after a run of three consecutive victories.
“We’ve had good results in the past three games, but this game is very important and we want to do well in the AFC Cup,” said South China coach Rambo, who saw his side defeated at the semi-final stage of the Hong Kong Premier League Season Play-Off after a 2-1 defeat to Southern District on Saturday.
“The team morale is very high and we’re very eager to get a win to reach the next round, which is important for a club with history like South China.”
“We know we will be playing a compact team which is also very hard-working with some quality play. I am very confident we can get the win but to do so we have to play very smart.”