LOCAL sides Ceres-Negros FC and Global Cebu FC return to 2018 AFC Cup action today coming from different directions.
Ceres takes on Home United FC in a Group F match in Singapore fresh from a 9-0 victory over Boeung Ket Angkor of Cambodia last time around while Global faces off with Bali United FC at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Group G looking to bounce back from its 1-0 loss to FLC Than Hoa FC of Vietnam in its group opener previously.
Both matches are set for 7:30 p.m.
Bacolod-based Ceres had a great start to its AFC Cup group play campaign at its home field of Panaad Park and Football Stadium on Feb. 13, pounding on Boeung Ket Angkor.
Forward Takumi Uesato and midfielders Bienvenido Maranon and OJ Porteria had a brace each in the rout with defender Carli de Murga and substitute Manny Ott adding a goal each. An own goal from Boeung Ket defender Sun Sovanrithy completed the shutout for the Philippine-based side.
The defending ASEAN Zone winner Ceres, and the inaugural Philippines Football League champion, said the victory was a testament to how far it has come as a club not only on local shores but also international.
It went on to say that it has been steadily building up its team and that it is well aware that the competition is viewing it keenly no longer as an underdog but straight up a contender.
“We are no longer underdogs in this campaign. Everybody is aware of us and we have to be aware of that and be ready,” said Ceres midfielder Stephan Schrock following their 9-0 victory.
He added that their mind-set has always been to go for the win each time and that would not change the rest of the way.
But while Ceres had its way in its last match, local football analyst Lorenzo Del Carmen does not expect such an easy time for the team this time around, saying it could be “trickier.”
“We can’t be quite sure. Each game will be different. Their next game away at Home United will prove trickier than this one,” said Mr. Del Carmen, who writes for local site Tiebreaker Times, when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts.
“They simply outmatched Boeung Ket. The away side had no idea how to defend against Ceres’ attacking football and were simply punished,” he added.
Ceres’ opponent today, Home United, is coming off a victory of its own, 1-0, over Shan United FC of Myanmar and is attempting to get the better of Ceres for solo leadership in its grouping.
GLOBAL FC On the part of Global, it looks to redeem itself after being victimized late in its game against FLC Than Hoa in Hanoi on Feb. 10.
The team competed well three-fourths of the way only to see its efforts go crashing down when Senegalese forward Pape Omar Faye scored the marginal goal for the home team at the 74thminute.
Global tried to regroup after and angled to salvage a draw at least but just could not complete it en route to slumping to the loss.
It will face a Bali United team reeling from a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Yangon United FC in its last game.