The Philippines’ Ceres-Negros will face Yangon United of Myanmar in the first leg of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup ASEAN Zonal semifinals at 7:30 pm on Wednesday at the Panaad Park and Stadium here.
The upcoming match will be the first time the two clubs will meet in the AFC Cup, and Ceres-Negros is gearing up for a repeat of its semifinal success last year.
Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic admitted though that replicating the past year’s feat would not be easy for the team.
“It’s not easy to repeat what we’ve done last year. That’s why I’m not expecting anything. For the team, just give everything what they have, to fight for each other, to fight for the team. Whatever happens I will be proud of them,” Vidakovic said during the pre-match press conference held Tuesday at Luxur Place.
“Every game for us is the same, same difficulty, same importance. We need to score in every game, tomorrow is not different,” the Serbian mentor added.
More than a year ago, Ceres-Negros defeated Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim on away goals before foiling Home United of Singapore, 3-2 on aggregate in the regional final, but subsequently lost to Tajiskistan’s FC Istiklol in two legs of the Inter-Zone semi-finals.
Vidakovic said the game against Yangon United is “much more important because this is the semi-finals, this is the first leg.”
“This game is different, this is something special. This is enough for us to be motivated for tomorrow,” he added.
Defender Junior Muñoz, who joined Vidakovic in the press conference, said he and his teammates are ready for the match against Yangon United.
“The team spirit at the moment is good, it’s high. Every game, we focus on our strength like coach tells us. We’re ready for tomorrow’s (Wednesday) game,” he said.
Ceres-Negros, the current Philippines Football League champions, finished second in Group F to book a trip to the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals. They tied for 13 points with Home United, but were beaten to top spot by the Singaporean team due to an inferior head-to-head record.
Yangon United topped Group G and was five points clear of second place Global Cebu to qualify for the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals showdown with Ceres-Negros. (PNA)
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