Philippine champions Ceres-Negros Football Club will commence their 2020 continental campaign on January 14 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The recently refurbished venue for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games Final will see the the Busmen will face Myanmar National League Champions Shan United in Preliminary Stage 1 of Asia’s richest club tournament.
The winner of the first stage will travel to Bangkok to face Thailand FA Cup Champions Port FC. A meeting with J. League’s FC Tokyo awaits in the final Playoff round where the winner earns a place in Group F.
The AFC Champions League is Asia’s most important club competition where thirty-two teams in the group stages will battle it out for the USD 4M top prize and a slot in the 2020 Club World Cup.
Ceres-Negros FC will participate in the AFC Champions League for the third straight year. They shocked the football world with a win against Brisbane Roar in 2017 before falling in the playoff round versus Tianjin Quanjian.
The competition returns to Manila in the fourth year that Philippine clubs have participated in the competition.
Philippine champions Ceres-Negros FC are set to compete in the qualifiers of the AFC Champions League and the group stage of the AFC Cup in 2020.
The Busmen will start their AFC Champions League campaign when they host familiar foe in Shan United on January 14. Both squads have faced each other in the first stage of qualifying last 2018 where Ceres-Negros won over the Myanmar champions via penalty shootout.
Should they win the first round of qualifying, they will move on the week after to Bangkok where they will meet Thai FA Cup Champions Port FC. Japan’s FC Tokyo awaits in the Playoff round as the final qualifying match to the group stages.
The winner of the Playoff round will play six group matches with Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea, Shanghai Shenhua of China, and Perth Glory of Australia.
If Ceres-Negros fails to make it to the group stage of the AFC Champions League, they will continue their continental campaign in Group G of the AFC Cup where they will match up with Than Quang Ning of Vietnam and Indonesian champs in Bali United.
They will also be joined by the winners of the Playoff between Master 7 FC of Laos and Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC of Cambodia.
Ceres-Negros reached the Zonal Semifinals of the 2019 edition of the AFC Cup where they fell to eventual champions Hanoi FC. The club set a new Philippine record with it’s third appearance of the club in the AFC Champions League and the sixth in the AFC Cup.
MANILA -- In the most painful way possible, the Philippines missed out on the podium when Myanmar came from a goal down to win 2-1 in the bronze medal match of the women's football tournament Sunday evening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Two minutes was all the Asian Lionesses did to overturn a second-half deficit, extending the agonzing drought on the Malditas to 34 years and won their 40th bronze in the biennial meet by negating their ceiling advantage by the host nation and silencing the 3,000 strong crowd in the process.
Forward Sarina Bolden had the closest chance in the goalless first half, only being denied by the left post after pouncing on a bad header by Khin Than Wai and Mya Phu Ngon that lead into an empty net.
However, she redeemed herself in the 58th minute by latching on to a diagonal ball by Sara Castaneda, and picked out Quinley Quezada who tapped it home for the opener, and could have gone 2-0 up with 16 minutes remaining but Bolden only hit the side netting.
Myanmar's blitzing speed and their attack in numbers bore fruit in the 78th minute when July Kyaw tucked home the equalizer after threatening Inna Palacios earlier with the free kick that went off the crossbar.
And in quick-fire fashion, Yee Yee Oo latched on the 80th minute winner after being picked on by substitute Khin Moe Wai after catching the Malditas defense at a disadvantage when Hali Long joined in on a set piece. Substitute Eva Madarang could have gotten on to force at least to penalties but the lineswoman's flag had denied them with two minutes remaining before full time.
Philippines: Palacios (GK), Lim, Long, Rodriguez (Madarang 56'), Dolino, Bolden, Quezada, Impelido (C), Castaneda, Bernal, Del Campo (Lemoran 72')
Myanmar: Phu Ngon (GK), Than Wai, Thazin, Kyaw, Mo Mo Tun (Thaw Thaw 30'), Marlar Tun (C), Aye Aye Moe, Nge Nge Htwe (Thin Thin Yu 62'), Chit Chit, Nu Nu (Khin Moe Wai 54'), Yee Yee Oo
By Kevin Estrada BINAN, LAGUNA -- Reigning SEA Games champion Vietnam will continue their defence of their gold medal after outlasting host nation Philippines, 2-0 in the semifinals of the women's football tournament at the Binan Football Stadium Thursday evening. After being held to a first-half standoff, Mai Duc Chung's Golden Girls were clinical in the second half to relegate the Malditas to the bronze medal match, similar to what they did in the AFF Women's Championship earlier this year.
With the win, Vietnam will face Thailand on December 8 in the final in Rizal Memorial as it will be the tiebreaker in which they shared evenly all the ten gold medals contested in women's football.
The Malditas of Let Dimzon were left to rue their missed chances in the entire match, and were even at the shorter end of the officiating after they were denied twice for handballs in inside the box, but a rematch with Myanmar will give them their final shot at the podium, looking to end the 34-year drought.
Thai Thi Tao put the visitors ahead at the hour mark, after she was freed in the far post by Duong Thi Van's cross after Vietnam caught the Malditas napping on the counter.
Four minutes after that, Tran Thi Kim Thanh came to Vietnam's rescue to deny Claire Lim with a flying stop on her bouncing effort.
The hosts almost got the equalizer in the 73rd minute, only for Alisha Del Campo saw her header being denied by the lineswoman's flag.
Such missed chances have made the Filipinas pay later on, as Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung put the finishing touches six minutes before full-time with a nifty right-footed effort, sending the red half of more than 2500 inside the stable of Stallion Laguna in jovial mood.
Philippines: Palacios (GK), Lim, Long, Rodriguez (Madarang 76'), Dolino, Bolden, Quezada, Impelido (C), Castaneda, Bernal, Del Campo (Lemoran 84')
Vietnam: Kim Thanh (GK), Hong Nhung, Thi Kieu, Thi Tuyet Dung, Huynh Nhu (CO), Thi Tao, Hai Yen, Thi Tuoi, Thi Van (Thi Lieu 70'), Thi Xuyen, Bich Thuy (Thi Loan 82')
BINAN--The U22 Azkals got the blowout they needed against Timor Leste on Wednesday night, but it was still not enough for them to make the Southeast Asian Games semifinals.
The Young Azkals romped Timor Leste, 6-1, at the Binan Football Stadium here, but Cambodia sealed its place in the Final Four with a 3-1 win against Malaysia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Stephan Schrock scored on a quick attack in the third minute before Ceres Negros teammate Amani Aguinaldo buried a 42nd minute goal as the U22 Azkals entered halftime 2-0 up to the delight of the full house crowd, the first time the Binan Football Stadium reached maximum capacity.
Mar Diano followed suit with a 54th minute goal, and Dylan De Bruycker nailed the U22 Azkals' fourth goal in the 75th minute before Aguinaldo sealed his hat trick with goals in the 85th and 90th minutes.
Nathaniel Reis scored a consolation goal for Timor Leste off a free kick in the third minute of stoppage time, but that goal proved vital as the U22 Azkals lost to Cambodia in the race for second on goal difference. Cambodia finished the group stages with a plus-6 goal difference, while the U22 Azkals had a plus-5.
After a goalless first half, In Sodavid and Sieng Chanthea scored back-to-back goals in the 56th and 57th minutes to put Cambodia ahead. Keo Sokpheng then iced Cambodia's win with a 68th minute goal.
Quentin Cheng threatened a late Malaysia surge with an 89th minute strike, but Cambodia eventually survived.
Cambodia and top-seeded Myanmar will await the results of Matchday 5 of Group B to determine their semifinal opponents.
Mariano “Nonong” Araneta was re-elected president of the Philippine Football Federation on Friday.
Araneta prevailed over Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) president Ricky Yanson, 23-12, during the election coinciding with 16th PFF Congress at Century Park Hotel in Manila.
Araneta, who immediately extended a conciliatory hand to Yanson, received strong support from the Mindanao bloc, led by his running mate M’lang, Cotabato town mayor Joselito Piñol, who was also re-elected vice president.
Also boosting Araneta’s candidacy was the entry of three Philippines Football League clubs: Ceres Negros FC, Kaya Iloilo and Stallion Laguna, which secured voting rights after their membership to the PFF, the sport's national governing body, was approved earlier.
“The toughest part of the campaign was the vicious attack on my character,” said Araneta. “But most of the members here believe in my ability. They trusted me and for another four-year term."
Meanwhile, Yanson, who was critical of the PFF's lack of age-group tournaments, accepted defeat.
MANILA, Philippines–Football, the sport that has been a source of heartbreak and disappointment for the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, delivered a magical night that will live long in the memory on Friday.
In a result reminiscent of the Philippines’ biggest victory in the competition 28 years ago, the Young Azkals overcame the favored Malaysia, 1-0, to keep their semifinal hopes alive at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Over at Biñan Football Stadium, the Philippine women’s team leaned on a Sarina Bolden hattrick to dump Malaysia, 5-0, and secure its place in the next round.
The two matches took place simultaneously with both attracting huge crowds. And the Filipino athletes did not disappoint, delivering twin wins that propped up their bid for a medal in what is easily considered as the most popular event of the SEA Games.
The Young Azkals took the game to the 2017 silver medalists right from the opening whistle and their pressure was duly rewarded with captain Stephan Schrock’s 71st minute goal.
Schrock floated in a corner that swerved at the final minute and creeped into the back of the net. Amani Aguinaldo looked to have forced in the ball as it arrived in the area, but it was the indefatigable Schrock who was credited for the goal.
The result kept the Young Azkals in the mix for a semifinal berth with four points from three matches. They still have to play Timor Leste on Tuesday, but claiming the scalp of one of the powerhouses in the competition will go down as a remarkable achievement for coach Goran Milojevic’s team.
Interestingly, the stadium, scoreline and the opponent were all the same when the Philippine men’s team pulled off its biggest win in the competition in 1991. Back then, the Malaysians arrived at Rizal Memorial as defending champions, but they fell in an upset made possible by Norman Fegidero’s goal. All but one of the players in the current squad weren’t even born yet when the Philippines hammered out that win.
But this was a team that is teeming with young talents spearheaded by an irrepressible leader in Schrock. And with an energetic crowd of 6500 backing them up, the Young Azkals sent a strong message with a performance to remember.
Bolden bagged her hattrick right before halftime, while De La Salle’s Shai Del Campo was also on the scoresheet in an emphatic win for coach Let Dimzon’s side.
By: Cedelf P. Tupas The Philippine men’s and women’s football teams set out to stay in medal contention on Friday when the Young Azkals and the Malditas take on their Malaysian counterparts in group play of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
With only a point to show from their first two matches, the Young Azkals are hard pressed to win their remaining two games starting with their 8 p.m. clash with the heavily favored Malaysian side at 8 p.m. at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Over at Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna, the Malditas, just two days removed from their goalless stalemate with Myanmar, are aiming for a semifinal spot as they battle Malaysia also at 8 p.m.
But while the Young Azkals are the heavy underdogs, the same could not be said of the Malditas, who encountered little trouble in beating Malaysia, 3-0, in their previous encounter during the AFF Women’s Championship in Thailand early this year.
Women’s team coach Let Dimzon warned her team of complacency even as she stressed the importance of securing a victory for the country.
“We want to deliver some positive news for the country, that’s why the team is more motivated against Malaysia,” said Dimzon, who noted the Malditas’ improved defense in the draw with Myanmar.
The Young Azkals were left undone by a quick Myanmar counterattack on Wednesday that resulted in a 2-1 loss.
Nineteen-year-old defender Justin Baas, who scored on a sweetly struck volley to make it 1-1 at halftime, feels the Young Azkals are improving with every game.
But performances would need to be backed up by winning results in the next couple of matches, including against Timor Leste on Dec. 3.
Malaysia, the silver medalist two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, enters the match with a four-day rest after drawing against Myanmar, 1-1, on Monday. It will be a question of fitness for the Young Azkals, who will be playing their third match in five days. Captain Stephan Schrock and Baas are also playing in their fifth match in 14 days, including two games with the senior team in the World Cup Qualifiers early this month.
Saying his performance and track record speak for themselves, Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Nonong Araneta seeks a fresh mandate when the PFF holds its annual Congress on Friday at Century Park Hotel in Manila. The elections will be held against the backdrop of the Southeast Asian Games, where the national team is currently fighting for life in a bid to make it to the podium.
Araneta, the country’s top football official the last nine years, will be up against Negros Occidental Football Association president Ricky Yanson, who had criticized the current PFF regime for its lack of grassroots programs.
Thirty-two regional football association presidents will be voting for the person who will lead the sport in the country in the next four years. Three Philippines Football League clubs–Ceres-Negros, Kaya-Iloilo and Stallion Laguna–are also expected to be accepted as members of the federation that will allow representatives of the clubs to also choose the next PFF chief.
With Qatar Airways announcing its three-year partnership with the Philippines Football League (PFL) starting next year, Araneta hopes to retain his post to also preserve unity among key stakeholders of the sport in the country.
Yanson, the PFF grassroots committee chair, has provided a glimpse of what’s to come if elected as he held the Mindanao and Luzon Cups in the last two months.
But he has also come under criticism from Araneta, who said that Yanson has not held a meeting for the PFF grassroots committee in four years and also has missed half of the last 20 PFF Board of Governors’ meetings.Araneta said he decided to seek a fresh term to prevent football from being “collateral damage” in the Yanson family feud.
Ceres-Negros FC owner Leo Rey Yanson and Ricky Yanson are on opposite sides of a bitter corporate dispute, which Araneta said could see the country’s top club pull out of the PFL should Ricky Yanson take the PFF top post.
“But I also think it’s about performance and track record,” said Araneta, under whose team the national men’s and women’s teams flourished with maiden AFC Asian Cup appearances in the last two years.
“I have served football for a long time and I will continue to do it in the next four years because I want to see through projects that I have already started.”
Araneta, a member of the executive committee of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association and chair of the Asian Football Confederation finance committee, wants to see through projects like the National Training Center in Carmona, Cavite. He is also set to implement the national under-17 tournament next year after the Qatar Airways deal will help augment expenses for the PFL.
The Philippines may have seen the best and worst scenario when a young team represents the country in a prestigious football tournament like the Southeast Asian Games at home.
Reinforced by senior players Stephan Schrock and Amani Aguinaldo, the Under-22 Azkals got off to a nervy start against Cambodia before putting up a spirited second-half display in a 1-1 stalemate that forged a four-team tie with Malaysia and Myanmar in Group A.
“The buildup to the match was good and we were well-prepared, but we were a bit shaky at the start,” said 17-year-old attacking midfielder Yrik Gallantes, who assisted on the 18-year-old Dennis Chung’s goal in the 93rd minute.
“For young players and new teams, it usually happens. Some of the players were really nervous because everyone wanted to win, especially for the fans,” added Gallantes, whose Scotland-based parents hail from Cavite and Parañaque.
The Young Azkals have their work cut out for them as they seek their first win against Myanmar at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Schrock, who captained the side against Cambodia in front of close to 3,000 fans, said the result and the way it was fashioned out by the team will only forge a stronger bond among the players that will come in handy as they tackle tougher challenges in the tournament.
The Young Azkals are aiming to make the semifinals for the first time in the history of the tournament now reserved for Under-22 players with two over-aged reinforcements.
“This is the type of result that brings teams together,” said Schrock. “We will definitely work out a plan. It’s about me and Amani (Aguinaldo) adjusting with the team. We’ve been a full team only for a few days so expect us to get better.”
Gallantes promised an improved showing as the team continues to play together.
Meanwhile, Indonesia stunned defending champion Thailand, 2-0, thanks to goals from Egy Vikri and Osvaldo Haay in Group B at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
SANTA ROSA, Laguna — The Under-22 Azkals were able to walk away with a point against Cambodia after a 1-1 draw to open their campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Monday.
A late equalizer from substitute Dennis Chung in the 93rd minute put the Philippines back in the game after falling behind in the first half.
Keo Sokpheng scored for the Cambodia side in the 40th minute.
Both men's matches today in Rizal Memorial Stadium ended in draws, with Malaysia and Myanmar also figuring in a 1-1 stalemate earlier.
While Vietnam mauled Brunei, 6-0 in the men's match in Binan, Laguna.
MANILA, Philippines — Azkals assistant coach Ernie Nierras couldn't help but express his disappointment following a string of mishaps concerning ASEAN football teams in their arrival here in Manila for the Southeast Asian Games.
Nierras, who is also part of the coaching staff of the U22 Azkals set to compete in the biennial meet, lamented the wasted chance of having 'home field advantage' due to the issues.
"Yun nga masama sa loob ko eh, Dapat home field advantage to eh... honestly, mas maganda pa kung dun tayo naglaro sa ibang bansa eh," Nierras said in an interview.
"Mas ma-handle nang mabuti yung ibang bansa yung paano tayo alagaan eh," he added.
Lack of coordination
Nierras said that a majority of the mishaps would have been avoided had the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) communicated more with the Philippine Football Federation (PFF).
"Ang daming pagkukulang pero andun naman yung opportunity to do something better kung sana they worked closer with the Philippine Football Federation," Nierras said.
"Sino ba may experience? Kung alam mo na paano mo gawin, bakit magiimbento ka pa ng sarili mong sistema? Diba? Kausapin mo na yung Philippine Football Federation," he said of PHISGOC.
Nierras reiterated the audience of football in the region, saying that it was what drew most audiences to the SEA Games.
"Outside of the Philippines, the biggest draw of the Southeast Asian Games in any edition, in any country, is football," he said.
"So we've been telling them (PHISGOC)... please make sure these 17 countries who are coming from the men's and women's competition," he added.
But what's done is done, Nierras said and the Philippines must simply make do with the hand it has been dealt.
"Andito na tayo sa sitwasyon na to," Nierras said.
"Magaling naman tayo sa Pilipinas diyan eh, magaling tayo sa last minute, magaling sa tawid gutom. So ngayon, itatawid gutom nalang natin ito para ma-host natin mabuti and magtulungan tayo," he added.
Foreign football coaches have also let bygones be bygones after the mishaps and shifted their focus to the games ahead.