Busmen look to start strong in AFC Cup opener

Lopez Mendy ACL 2020 Shan United

Philippine champions Ceres-Negros FC take on Cambodian side Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC in their opening match in the 2020 AFC Cup on February 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

The Busmen who recently concluded their AFC Champions League campaign with a playoff defeat against FC Tokyo will look to start strong against the Cambodian League champions.

Svay Rieng FC dominated the C-League and only lost once during their 2019 title run which earned then qualification into the AFC Cup Playoff Round. There, they trashed Laos’ Master 7 FC with a 7-1 aggregate win.

The buildup of the Cambodian club leading to their opening AFC Cup match was impressive after big wins against Selangor FA and Brunei DPMM make them the legitimate dark horses of Group G which also features Bali United and Than Quang Ninh.

Stephan Schrock Port FC Ceres Negros FC 2020 AFC CHampions league

Team Captain Stephan Schrock will see action for the Negros side after missing the ACL Playoff match with accumulated cards. Returnee Manny Ott will also be reinforce the squad with his recent transfer and will be availableon matchday one with the rest of the Busmen.

“I think we have been preparing very well,” said Ceres-Negros striker Robert Lopez Mendy who made it to the final round of the AFC Champions League qualifying. “I think we are ready. We are ready for the challenge we have. We have good players and we can still get stronger.”

Ceres-Negros Coach Risto Vidakovic knows that he is in a tough group in the ASEAN Zone but he sees the desire of the team to succeed in their fifth year of qualification in the group stages.

“The team has very high motivation to face the AFC Cup. We played already the last four times and now were highly motivated to start the game,” said the Ceres-Negros mentor.

The PFL Champions will also face Than Quang Ninh at home on February 25 dues to schedule change and Indonesian champions Bali United on March 11.

Kickoff is set at 730pm in Manila’s famed stadium. Match tickets are free and will be available at the stadium gates. The match will be shown live on Cable TV channel Fox Sports 2.