QUEENSLAND, Australia – Philippine squad Ceres-Negros FC plays Brisbane Roar in the AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 2 on January 23 at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Stadium (QSAC) in Queensland, Australia.
The busmen progressed to the next round after knocking out Myanmar club Shan United 4-3 on penalties after finishing extra time with a 1-1 scoreline.
After the emphatic win in Yangon, the team took a quick break in Manila before travelling to the continent-nation where they’ll face the battle tested Champions League squad.
“For us its a good experience to play these kind of games,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic former . “Brisbane is a tough team. They play a high level league, bigger level than what we have in the Philippines. So for us its a test to see where we are and where can we be. We just have to enjoy the game tomorrow,” he added.
Vidakovic knows that the opponents are deep into their season and have a huge advantage against his team.
“I saw a few games and I know that they are at a higher level than us. They are middle of the season, we are in the preseason. There’s a big difference in the intensity and everything but I hope we can compete with them,” said the former La Liga vet.
The Ceres Coach was quick to clarify that even though his team is only the preseason and matching up with a tougher club, they will give their very best in the knockout match come Tuesday night. “Of course we’ll compete one-hundred percent, we’ll never know. anything can happen. Football is full of surprises.”
Brisbane parades a talented lineup which includes Australia national team veterans in Bret Holman and Matt Mckay and standout Corey Gameiro. Italian Massimo Maccarone, Tunisian Fahid Ben Khalfallan, and Frenchman Eric Bautheac are the foreign players for the squad.
The match will also serve as a reunion of sorts for Roar Coach John Aloisi and Doblas. Both players matched up in the 2005 Copa del Rey final where Doblas featured for Real Betis while Aloisi starred for Osasuna. Aloisi scored the equalizer of the match but Doblas and company eventually won the trophy after extra time.
Kickoff is set at 730pm at the stadium with the match shown live over pay TV in Australia. Match updates will be provided on the Ceres-Negros Twitter and Facebook pages.