Ceres-Negros FC and JPV Marikina FC meets for the fifth and final match this season on June 23 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.
The Negros squad is keen to extend its winning run in the league when they face the Japanese flavored side at the 7pm on Saturday.
The last game saw Ceres-Negros with the early lead with two goals from Mike Ott and Stephan Schrock.
JPV’s Keigo Muriyasu pulled a goal back from a defensive blunder but Patrick Reichelt tapped in a Schrock cross just before halftime.
The home squad was brought down to ten men just before the half but Schrock willed himself to another goal and a man of the match performance to finish with a 4-1 win.
Ceres has the advantage in the matchup scoring three wins and earning a draw against JPV in their last four games,
Although the match is tilted to the home side’s favor, the Busmen are still wary of the danger of the Marikina squad whom they have played classic encounters in the past.
“JPV has been our nemesis eversince and its a good game everytime we play with them,” said Ceres assistant Ian Treyes. “Lucky for us we scored our early chances, they scored one but we got another before halftime”
“Unfortunately for us we lost OJ Porteria in the second half after getting a red card,” he added.
Porteria and JPV Coach Dan Padernal are suspended for the match after an incident during halftime last Wednesday.
Arnie Pasinabo respects JPV Marikina after being part of many storied encounters.
“JPV is one of the better teams in the history of the Philippines. They’re trying to play as much as they can with Ceres but we are prepared all the time when we play them. If we play as a team, no can beat us,” he added
Ceres-Negros are also missing some key players to injuries and are expected to have a thin lineup for the upcoming match.
Toni Doblas, who sat out of the prior match, will be assessed during official training for an appearance in tomorrows matchup.
Michael Casas has been steady in the previous match which may dictate his third consecutive appearance in the league.
Super Herrera has returned to regular play after substituting Amani Aguinaldo who has improved after getting good minutes in the last two games.
JPV Marikina will have the benefit of the full lineup in tomorrows meeting which makes their final game more interesting.
Admission is free in Panaad on matchday and the match will be shown live via PFLtv.ph.
Stephan Schröck was in a confident mood after Ceres-Negros dispatched of JPV Marikina last Wednesday night beating the visitors 4-1 at the Panaad Stadium.
The versatile playmaker bagged his second straight man of the match award after scoring two goals against JPV, similar to his impressive output versus Global last week.
The many-time Azkal credited his teammates for a good performance in the match that saw them go down to ten men but still managed to get a convincing display at home.
“The team makes it very easy like the last game,” said the Ceres star. “We have some struggles of course but we cant blame anyone when we play every three days. Just happy to get the good result,” he added.
The win has pushed the Ceres-Negros to 35 points in the standings after passing the halfway mark of the league. The busmen opened a 12-point gap with the win with eleven matches left in the season
“(Already) looking forward to the second PFL trophy,” he ascertained. “We will get it regardless. We’ve been working for that every day with hard work, true work, and in the end of the season we’ll get the trophy.
Ceres-Negros withstood Global Cebu’s second half comeback to score a 4-3 win last June 16 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Stephan Schrock and Mike Ott both scored a brace while Darryl Roberts score two goals and Paolo Salenga added one for Global.
Both teams had a very interesting start in the match with the rivals engaging in a tight midfield battle for the first half hour. Schrock had the first chance in the 11th minute but his attempt was easily collected by Jun Badelic.
Salenga a nice chance in the 24th but his flock off a free kick didnt find the target. Patrick Reichelt had the best chance off a corner with his header hitting the underside of the crossbar but the keeper scoops it out of danger.
It was in the 35th minute when Schrock broke the offside trap after a ball from a challenge fell to his lap and before he picked his spot to score the opener.
Ceres double the lead minutes later when Mike Ott nodded in a Reichelt cross to the delight of the Ceres faithful. Schrock made it 3-0 after a poor defensive play from Global allowed him to whip in a left footer in the 42nd.
Global forced their way back into the match when Roberts ran into the box unmarked and unleashed a header to make it 3-1 in the 53rd minute. He would make his brace minutes later with a well placed header to the bottom corner in the 60th.
Ceres pushed the advantage to two goals after Schrock chased a long ball from Amani Aguinaldo and found an unmarked Mike Ott in the box. Ott calmly headed in the goal in the 65th to make it 4-2.
The home squad took advantage of a non call in the Ceres half to push for a counterattack four minutes before time. A deflected cross by Daniel Gadia went past the outstretched arms of substitute Michael Casas to allow Salenga a header for Global’s third goal.
Cebu had the best chance to equalize after Curt Dizon’s snapshot was palmed to the side by Casas but substitute Jinggoy Valmayor mishit the ball in the face of goal for a goal kick. Ceres held on after three minutes of injury time to secure their 10th win in 13 games.
“After the first half it was easy game for us but in the second half it was drama,” said Coach Risto Vidakovic. “They had a very clear chance in practically the last minute, they missed. After the second half I can say that we’re happy we got the three points.”
“After we broke them in the first half, I think we had a good game. The second half, we started a little bit unlucky. Almost every cross was a goal but in the end we won. So we get another three points for the second championship. We’re working hard for that and we want to continue our run,” said Man of the match Stephan Schrock.
Ceres-Negros will now go back to Bacolod where they are scheduled to have four consecutive matches from June 20 to July 1
Another turn on the page of the historic rivalry begins as Global Cebu hosts Ceres-Negros on June 16 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The two clubs have only met once this season in the same venue where the Busmen outlasted their rivals with a 2-0 win.
Mike Ott was assisted by Stephan Schröck in the first goal while Schröck, who was the eventual man of the match, scored from a stunning volley that deemed is the prime candidate for goal of the year.
The storied path of both rivals are still in play even though both squads are on the opposite ends of the league table.
“It’s always an exciting game against Global,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic. “It’s the biggest opponent of Ceres here in the Philippines so I’m sure that the players are motivated to play tomorrow and I hope they give their best,” he added.
Global Coach Marjo Allado is also looking forward for the match which includes the possibility of meeting of his former ward in the process.
“Some of the players right now are excited also to play Ceres. Hoping for some good weather tomorrow so that there would be no cancellation. Good to know that Amani now is back playing,” said Allado who had their midweek game cancelled because of the heavy rain.
With Vidakovic easing Amani Aguinaldo to minutes after his return last month, the standout defender is looking forward to feature in the match against his former club.
“If I get the chance to play, I’m really excited because I’m playing my former club. The next match is always the most important one, we will still try our best and perform at high standard that we expect of our team in our selves,” said the 24-year old.
Global’s John Roy Melgo III believes in his team’s capability in matching up with the league leaders. “I know every time we play the game, everybody is doing their best and hopefully we do our best and god will do the rest.”
The Cebu outfit is expected to field its best available squad with the return of defender Lee Jeongmin. Ceres however had another dent on their title defense co-captain Carlie De Murga is indefinitely out with a broken tooth.
De Murga sustained an injury after getting an elbow to the mouth in their last match against Kaya. The Ceres co-captain will be added to the growing injury list of the Bacolod squad which includes Manny Ott and Bienvenido Maranon who also were on the wrong end of reckless plays from opponents.
Ceres-Negros will be keen to get a good result in the next match to increase the six-point gap against Kaya FC-Iloilo while Global Cebu is looking to improve its standing after playing just nine games.
The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7PM at the historic stadium and will precede a 4PM match between Davao Aguilas and Stallion Laguna. Matches will be streamed live via PFLtv.ph.
Azkals name ex-England World Cup skipper as new head coach
Terry Butcher, a tough, hard-nosed defender during his international career for England, who embarked on a coaching career that took him to Scotland and Australia, has been appointed coach of the Philippine national team that is set to see action in the AFC Asian Cup for the first time next year.
The 59-year-old Butcher’s role with the Azkals will be announced on Thursday night along with the appointment of former Irish coach Scott Cooper as senior football adviser of the national team as Azkals manager Dan Palami took the lead in strengthening the back room staff in preparation for major tournaments in the next seven months.
Butcher, who played 77 matches for England in a 10-year span that included three World Cup tournaments, last coached for English League Two side Newport County three years ago. He also served as assistant coach to the Scottish National team.
Although he only moved to Asia five years ago after coaching English side Leicester’s youth team, Cooper has already gained plenty of experience, having steered Thailand League powerhouse Buriram United to the league title in his first season and the knockout phase of the prestigious AFC Champions League.
Among the highlights of Cooper’s stint in Thailand was leading Ubon UMT United to back-to-back promotion from the third division to the top-flight from 2015 to 2017.
“I see this as a big challenge,” said Butcher in a video call from Moscow, Russia, where is currently based, covering the World Cup for BBC. “I see a lot of work ahead of us. But it will be fun work. It will be exciting work.”
Butcher acknowledged the efforts of former Azkals coach Thomas Dooley and the players for reaching the Asian Cup and achieving the country’s highest FIFA ranking.
“I have to say a big thank you to Thomas Dooley for getting the Azkals that far and for improving the team and believing in the team,” he said. “I think with another team, behind the team, these are exciting times for the Philippines.”
Sources said Cooper will play an active role in assisting Butcher as the England legend treads unchartered territory in Asian football.
Goalkeeping coach Steve Marcells and Chris Greatwich, who assisted Dooley in the match against Tajikistan last March, complete the Azkals’ brain trust.
Butcher said his reign will be “friendly and instructive”, pointing out that he wants players to enjoy representing the country.
“Playing for the country should be an honor and a privilege and a pleasure,” said Butcher.
“But I want to be challenged. The players have to be challenged. I’m not coming there for a holiday and enjoy the weather. There’s a whole country that your responsibility for. I want to work hard for the team and strive to be the best. There’s no point of going there if you don’t want to be successful. With success comes pressure so we can’t rest on our laurels. There’s no reason why we can’t get high as we possibly can.”
Butcher said he will be out to erase the misconception that English coaches only play direct, long-ball football.
“We want to win games with a bit of style, with a bit of finesse,” said Butcher, who visited Manila in 2016 to watch the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Former England captain Terry Butcher will take the Philippines’ National Men’s Football team coaching role, according to The Scottish Sun.
The British publication broke the news a day before the official unveiling of Thomas Dooley’s successor to be organized by the Philippine Football Federation
An experienced manager, Butcher will provide a plenty of experience to the Philippines side that are looking to reach greater heights in the upcoming Asian Cup.
He is set to continue the momentum established by Dooley.
Dooley, a former USA captain, steered the Azkals to a bridesmaid finish in the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup before bringing the Philippines to the zenith of Asian football by qualifying for the Asian Cup.
The Englishman’s first managerial stint came in 1990 when he became Coventry City’s player-manager for two seasons. He then briefly did the same with Sunderland in 1993 before retiring as a player in the same year.Later on, he’s managed six more clubs – all but one in Britain when he managed Australian club Sydney FC.
The Philippines job will be his first ever in the international level, although he is not totally new to international football having been an assistant coach for Scotland back in 2008.
Butcher has also had an impressive career as a player, helping Rangers win three Scottish Premiership titles in the late 80’s. He also played a part in Ipswich Town’s UEFA Cup triumph back in 1981.
In the international stage, he’s played for England in three World Cups between 1982 and 1990. Taking over the captaincy following Bryan Robson’s injury early in the 1990 World Cup, Butcher played a big role towards England’s fourth place finish in the tournament – their best since winning the trophy back in 1966.
The Philippines will be hopeful that Butcher’s wealthy experience as both player and manager will rub off on the players when he takes charge of the Azkals for the upcoming Asian Cup to be held in the UAE in January 2019.
The former Ipswich and Rangers defender will be officially unveiled by the PFF on June 14 in a press conference that will be staged at the Solaire Hotel and Casino in Parañaque City.
The former Motherwell boss has been out of work since leaving Newport County in 2015 and now looks set to take over at the ASEAN minnows
Butcher has been out of since leaving Newport County in 2015.
Now the 59-year-old is set for his first job in three years as he is reunited with Steve Marsella who is goalkeeping coach at the ASEAN outfit.
The ex-Hibs boss will lead the Azkals into their first finals of an Asian Cup with the upcoming AFF Championship.
SHIRMAR Felongco came up with an equalizing goal as Kaya Iloilo caught up with rival Ceres Negros for a 1-1 draw in the 2018 Philippines Football League on Saturday at the Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City.
Trailing 0-1 after a second half conversion by Ceres’ Mike Ott, Kaya came up with a quick response from Ilonggo Felongco with five minutes left in the match to salvage a point in the standings.
Kaya is stuck on second place with 23 points on seven wins, two draws and three losses while Ceres, the defending champion, remains on top with 29 points on nine wins, two draws and a loss.Both teams had decent attempts in the first half, with Ceres getting near goals from Stephan Schrock and Kaya having Felongco, Jovin Bedic and Marwin Angeles trying to score.
Ceres had chances to snatch the lead in the second half, including one from Schrock – he made a free kick from inside the box – but this failed to materialize. He later had another free kick but this was defended by Kaya’s Ref Cuaresma.
The Busmen finally scored in the 84th minute on a tap-in by Ott but Kaya answered a minute later when Felongco eluded the defense of Ceres’ goalkeeper Toni Doblas.
In the other match, Davao San Miguel Aguilas scored a 3-0 victory over JPV Marikina in a game at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna that was cut short due to heavy rain that made the field unplayable.
Phil and James Younghusband and Nathaniel Villanueva scored for Aguilas, which improved to 17 points on five wins, two draws and six losses. JPV dropped to 10 points on three wins, one draw and nine losses./PN
https://www.panaynews.net/kaya-draws-with-ceres/ 10 AGAINST 10. Ceres Negros forward OJ Porteria (black) and Kaya Iloilo midfielder Miguel Tanton charge at the ball. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN
MANILA -- The wrath of mother nature has forced the PFL to abandon the JPV Marikina-Davao Aguilas tiff today, with the visitors got a huge bounce-back win in Laguna.
Melchor Anzures got his first win of the season, with the Aguilas leading 3-0 when rains brought by Tropical Storm Domeng forced match commissioner Ebong Joson to halt proceedings.
The sign of the postponement was imminent right before kick-off, when a waterlogged pitch in Biñan delayed the opening whistle by 15 minutes.
Phil Younghusband made Tsubasa Suzuki pay in the 32nd minute, after the Azkals skipper tucked in the spot kick when the Japanese centre-half was called for the handball.
At the restart, James Younghusband and Dennis Villanueva fired two quick goals in the 47th and the 49th minute respectively for the current scoreline, but intense rains caused the artificial grass unplayable.
With the electrical system not put in place in the stadium, there was no need for the officials to issue a 30 minute suspension when the abandonment of match was made.
A top of the table clash beckons as Kaya FC-Iloilo hosts Ceres-Negros FC in the port city for the first time on June 9, Saturday, at the Iloilo Sports Complex.
Ceres-Negros leads the Iloilo squad by six points on the standings after having played eleven games each.
The teams first met last April 4 in Panaad where the busmen came from a goal down to snatch a 2-1 win.
It was Iloilo who had the last laugh in their last meeting as they won 2-0 against the Busmen in Panaad who were in between semifinal matches in the AFC Cup.
Alfred Osei and Robert Lopez Mendy were the goalscorers in the tightly contested match that saw Ceres lose points for the first time this PFL season.
Both teams will be missing several key players in the highly anticipated match due to injuries and suspensions.
Jordan Mintah is out due to a knee injury while Osei and Mendy are suspended for the match. Kevin Ingreso will be out for accumulated yellows while Bienvenido Marañon and Manny Ott are recovering from injuries.
Ceres-Negros will be on their sixth match in eighteen days and will be playing a well rested Kaya squad who have had more time to prepare with the absence of key players.
Kickoff is set at 4pm at the historic venue with plenty of Ceres supporters expected to attend. The match will be shown live vis PFLtv.ph.
GERMANY will look to defend their crown when the World Cup begins on June 14th, and it is also a crucial date for the German-born coach of one of Southeast Asia’s fastest improving nations.
Thomas Dooley, a former Bundesliga rival of Germany boss Joachim Loew, will soon find out if his services will still be required in charge of the Philippines.
He parted ways with his adopted nation at the end of March, having helped the Azkals qualify for their first-ever Asian Cup. He’d like to extend his contract, but nothing is guaranteed ahead of next week’s announcement of a new coach by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
British-born former Philippines defender Rob Gier is believed to be among the other candidates to lead them to November’s AFF Suzuki Cup, but Dooley would love to extend his tenure.
“In my opinion, they don’t need a new coach… they should support the old coach. I’m in this business for 30 years and all I was asking was for them to follow the plan and to help the coach to get what he needs.” Dooley said.
“Jogi Loew is already 12 years as Germany coach. It took him eight years to win his first tournament, with consistency, discipline, organisation and delegation.”
Dooley, who went from accomplished Bundesliga midfielder to representing the United States at two World Cups due to his American father, was in charge of the Azkals for more than four years. He helped them rise up the FIFA rankings, advance to the semi-finals of the 2014 Suzuki Cup, and oversaw their first-ever victories in the second round of World Cup qualification.
However, his greatest achievement was overcoming adversity to ensure that Philippines booked their place at January’s Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates at the final hurdle. They put their fans through a nail-biting final qualifier before coming from behind to beat Tajikistan 2-1 in Manila on March 27 to finish top of Group F.
Phil Younghusband scored an added-time penalty to secure a third victory in six games, completing an unbeaten third-round campaign.
But Dooley was frustrated that he’d been given limited time with his squad in national camps, due to a congested domestic fixture list that exhausted key men from big clubs like Ceres-Negros FC.
“I was begging all year long for a schedule change and for some support for the national team. We were gambling with qualification, and the health of our players: a game every three days for six months is unheard of,’’ Dooley said.
“In the qualifier against Yemen, we had eight injured players and we had seven injured against Nepal. But we still qualified in the last game, because of the incredible, spiritual, energised, and positive camp we created.”
But Dooley’s euphoria soon turned to disappointment when he heard indirectly that Asian Cup qualification hadn’t earned him a contract extension.
“I was stunned when I saw on TV that [the PFF] weren’t sure and wanted to evaluate everything and ask the players if I am the right coach to bring the team to the next level,’’ he said. “But why should we change the coach if the arrow is going up with the team? You do that only if a team is not successful.
“It was very disappointing, of course. It is sad. It’s like your best friend is stealing something from you. I know, in this business things happen quickly, but I also must defend myself. This is about my reputation.’’
The PFF’s period of reflection could be related to Dooley’s occasional spats with overseas-born senior players, including Stephan Schrock and Martin Steuble. Ex-Bundesliga midfielder Schrock had been one of the stars of Ceres in the AFC Cup, but he didn’t feature in key Asian Cup qualifiers after a second falling out with former U.S. captain Dooley.
There was also the disappointment of a group stage exit when the Azkals co-hosted the 2016 Suzuki Cup with Myanmar.
But Dooley’s credits far outweigh his debits as he helped turn the Philippines into one of Asia’s most improved sides. Their current FIFA ranking of 111th is their best ever — they were 191st in 2005 and 147th as recently as 2012 — and they are now capable of stretching the region’s best sides. They will be in Group C at the Asian Cup, along with South Korea, China and Kyrgyzstan.
If Dooley is overlooked for the Philippines, he could switch his attention to Singapore who will look for a full-time coach in 2019 after this year’s caretaker stint from youth boss Fandi Ahmad.
“I love the Philippines and I hope I get the chance to finish what I have started here,” he said.
“But if that’s not possible, I would be very interested in the Singapore coaching position. I know the players and have watched a lot of their games. It would be very interesting and exciting to work with such a beautiful stadium and great supportive fans.
“The Lions are a very interesting team, but they don’t bite anymore. So, I would love to work with them and implement the right things. I’m sure I can make a difference there, as well.
Jason Dasey is Singapore-based TV broadcaster and event emcee. Twitter: @JasonDasey
After their AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 campaign, the Philippine Women’s National Team will compete in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship 2018 in Palembang, Indonesia on 30 June – 13 July 2018.
The Philippines are grouped with fellow Women’s Asian Cup participant Vietnam, Myanmar, tournament host Indonesia, and Singapore in Group B. All matches will be played at the Jaka Baring Stadium in Palembang, Indonesia.
In the Women’s Asian Cup held in Amman, Jordan last April 2018, the Philippines defeated host Jordan, 2-1, in the group stage, before yielding three straight matches against China PR (0-3), Thailand (1-3), and Korea Republic (0-5).
Letecia “Buda” Bautista returns as the head coach after leading the team to qualification in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2017. The team will have a training camp in Manila starting 9 June 2018.
PFF officials welcomed the return of Bautista to the national team. The former Philippine women’s national team player was shortlisted for the AFC Women’s Coach of the Year award during the AFC Annual Awards held in Bangkok, Thailand last November 2017.
“We welcome back Coach Letecia Bautista as the head coach of the Philippine Women’s National Team,” said PFF general secretary Atty. Edwin Gastanes. “Her vast knowledge of the game and her leadership as head coach will be integral to how far the team will go in the tournament.”
MANILA--It was a hard-fought game between the two sides but in the end, the reigning PFL champions Ceres-Negros emerged victorious after a 2-1 win over Davao Aguilas in Bacolod's Panaad.
The champions found themselves at the back foot after 15 minutes from kick-off as the brotherly connection between Phil Younghusband and James Younghusband resulted to a goal.
Phil crossed the ball to his brother James who then found himself wide open before slotting the ball past Toni Doblas.
The visitors immediately turned into defensive mode as the Busmen tried to equalize right after going behind.
The men in yellow would then find themselves passing the ball around and looking for the final pass but nothing seems to go through.
A breakthrough for the hosts came in the 29th minute when Carli De Murga pounced on a lose ball inside the box to put the game back in the balance.
The first half ended in a stalemate as both sides seemed to have a hard time finding the perfect pass or the decisive goal.
Coming into the second half, Negros had been holding the ball for a good amount of time while not letting Davao take any opportunities in gaining the ball back or attempting for the goal. Davao, on the other hand, had been defending well to keep the Busmen at bay.
As tired legs came in to play, Takumi Uesato fed a lovely through ball for Patrick Reichelt, who then pushed the ball forward before tipping it past the diving Ronilo Bayan Jr. to turn the game around.
Ceres then tried to seal the game off as a late barrage of attempt came from Uesato, which was initially deflected by Bayan towards his path before holding the ball.
They now solidified their lead at the top of the table extending their lead to six over their rivals Kaya Iloilo who they will be facing away from home on Saturday at the Iloilo Sports Complex.
BIÑAN -- Even playing as the away team on their own stable, Stallion Laguna run riot and moved to fourth in the PFL table with a 4-1 rout of JPV Marikina on Wednesday night. A second half blitz was instrumental for Ernest Nierras' herd to overtake the designated home side in the table by two points with their fourth win of the season. By ending their two-match losing run, Laguna also ended Marikina's two-match unbeaten run and avenged their loss in their home opener almost four months ago, thanks to their early six-minute stretch at the restart after a goalless first half. Ko Kyung-Joon put away the rebounding header away from Jhun Tripulca in the 56th minute, then Abou Sy doubled their lead six minutes later with a left-footed effort. Kennedy Uzoka pulled one back in the 79th minute when a Laguna clearance hit him in the leg into the net. But Fitch Arboleda quickly restored their two-goal cushion and get all three points two minutes later, after latching on a Yannick Tuason cross into the six-yard box. Abou turned provider this time for the final count, with Nate Alquiros converting his pass with a curling effort three minutes from time for their finishing touches.
Coach Thomas Dooley is fighting to keep his spot with the Philippine Azkals national men’s team.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said they also have a British coach who has handled a team in Thailand in their radar.
“The challenge is how to prepare the national team. So, we are interviewing coaches,” said Araneta.
The Azkals are currently set to begin preparations for the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup and Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup UAE 2019 once they name their choice of coach this month.
And it’s either Dooley will be able to keep his job, or they will fire him in favor of a new one.
The decision to evaluate Dooley came after he steered the Azkals to a historic Asian Cup berth a few months ago.
Dooley‘s contract ended on March 31, and team officials led by Dan Palami will name a coach by June 14.
Araneta said the Azkals are first scheduled for friendlies with clubs in Bahrain and a tuneup with Bahrain national team this September.
They are getting ready for big challenges when the Azkals make their Asian Cup debut against Korea Republic on January 7, 2019 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai .
Then, they face China on Jan. 11 at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The last match of the group stage will be against Kyrgyz Republic on Jan. 16 January at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai.
They secured qualification to the final round last March 27.
The Azkals got it with their 2-1 win over Tajikistan at the Rizal Memorial Stadium to win Group F with 12 points.
“We dreamt that one day we will have a team in the AFC Asian Cup, and now it has become a reality, said Araneta.
Ceres-Negros FC continues its PFL title defense when it hosts Davao Aguilas FC on Wednesday, June 5, at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
The two squads were winless on the weekend with the Aguilas losing to Kaya in Iloilo and Ceres getting a draw with JPV.
The busmen are keen to bounce back from the frustrating match where they also lost ace playmaker Manuel Ott through a serious injury.
Both teams battled to an entertaining match last May 23 where the visitors had plenty of early chances after pressing the home team well. Ceres adjusted forging chances of their own in the tightly contested first half.
It was 44th minute when the home team had the advantage after Simone Rota fouled Bienvenido Maranon in the box. OJ Porteria stepped in for the penalty and converted to the delight of the home fans.
Ceres made amends for a poor first half by punishing Davao in the second. Key interceptions translated into well executed counterattacks which saw Maranon earn his brace and seal the win for the Negros side.
With the defending champions leading by just three points on top of the table and the Aguilas eight points off second place, the two teams are going for the full three points Wednesday night.
“Of course tomorrows gonna be a tough match. We did a lot of adjustments and the boys are well prepared,” said Davao Coach Melchor Azures.
Davao midfielder Jason de Jong is very positive leading to the match even if the team is in transition in the last week.
“I know we’ve come off a loss against Kaya but we can see the big difference the way we play now. There’s a clear style of play. There is a lot of things we can get a lot of confidence from and we are ready for this game tomorrow,” said De Jong.
Ceres-Negros Coach Ian Treyes shrugged off the idea of having an advantage with the opposing team changing coaches last week.
“Any change (with he other team) has and advantage and disadvantage but for us we will still continue with our tactics and team play. Were still the same team as before and it doesn’t change the way we play,” said the Ceres assistant.
Ceres-Negros co-captain Louie Michael Casas treats tomorrow’s match as an important one given that the team has dropped points in their last match.
“In this kind of league, we cannot afford to lose especially at home. All of us are ready for tomorrow. We will give our best especially here in Panaad,” said Casas.
“We would like to invite everyone especially our fans as we need you for the big game tomorrow. Hopefully they’re going to witness a good game tomorrow and Ceres will give their best to get the three points,” he added.
Gates will open at 5pm with free entrance given to the home fans. Seats will be given on a first come-first served basis. The Match will also be shown live via PFLtv.ph.
KAYA Futbol Club – Iloilo scored a double victory at the Iloilo Sports Complex in La Paz, Iloilo City on Saturday to fortify its hold on the second spot of the 2018 Philippines Football League standings.
Ilonggo Jovin Bedic played the hero’s role for Kaya as he scored the game-winning goal late in the second half for a repeat win over third placed Davao Aguilas 2-1.
With both teams struggling offensively in the first half, Kaya drew first blood in the second frame as Kenshiro Daniels smashed the ball low toward the Aguilas goalkeeper in the 53rd minute.
Aguilas managed to tie the scores minutes later on a header by James Younghusband. Kaya snatched the advantage in the 77th minute on a header by Bedic from a missed free kick by Miguel Tanton.
The victory was fitting for Kaya as it played undermanned – Robert Lopez Mendy and Alfred Osei were out due to suspension and Jordan Mintah and Ilonggo Shirmar Felongco, due to injuries.
“[We] missed a number of players but others took it as an opportunity to step up,” said Kaya head coach Noel Marcaida. “There were aspects of our plays that were affected but we were able to find ways to pull off the win.”
Prior to the match, Kaya got 3 points added to its total without sweat as Liga Futbol, Inc., the PFL’s governing body, awarded it a 3-0 forfeiture win for their postponed match against Global Cebu, also in Iloilo City, on May 2.
“Global Cebu FC was found responsible for the abandonment of the said match on May 2, 2018,” Liga Futbol, Inc. said in a statement released right after a meeting of its Board of Directors.
The May 2 match was supposed to be Kaya’s debut at its new home field and would have formalized its move from Makati. But Global Cebu – due to what was eventually disclosed as a financial problem – was unable to travel, causing the match cancellation.
Kaya moved up to 22 points on seven wins, one draw and three defeats. Aguilas, meanwhile, remained on third place with 14 points on four wins, two draws and five losses./PN