Ceres-Negros FC opens its AFC Cup campaign next week in Bacolod when it faces Boeungket Ankor FC in their first match of the group stages. Ceresfootball.com takes a quick look at the Cambodian outfit together with other rivals in Group F of the competition.
The less familiar of the opponents in Group F, the Cambodian League champions are in their second consecutive appearance in the AFC Cup after edging out Lao Toyota in the play-off for the second time.
Khuon Laboravy’s spectacular strike off a corner erased Lao’s away goal advantage and proved to be the winner cementing the club in the group stages.
Aside from Laboravy, goalkeeper Sou Yaty is one of the recognizable names in the squad together with other Cambodian internationals.
The team also features foreign players in Japanese midfielder Hikaru Mizuno, Nigerian’s Julius Oiboh and Gbenga Ajayi, and Brazilian Maycon.
In their AFC Cup debut, Boeungket played Global FC in the 2017 edition where they lost both matches against the Philippine squad.
The most familiar opponent in Group F is coming in the tournament with plenty of new faces after the departure of key veterans to Malaysian and Thai leagues.
The ASEAN Zone finalists will be missing Hassan Sunny, Faris Ramli, and Stipe Plazibat and many others in this years campaign but several players have been signed to soften the blow.
Striker Sharil Ishak, midfielder Hafiz Nor, and defender Shakir Hamzah are among a few names that have filled in the void for the Protectors.
Returning to the squad are veterans Juma’at Jantan, Izzdin Shafiq, Chris Van Huizen, together with foreign players Sirina Camara and Song Ui-young.
The S-League club will test their retooled squad when they open their AFC Cup campaign at away versus Shan United in Yangon.
The recent Myanmar National League champions are the other favorites in Group F of the competition. The club is littered with a young core of national team players and quality foreign players.
The forward combination of Patrick Asare and Chizoba Iyikwobe have been proved dangerous in the ACL Qualifiers while the stability of veteran keeper Thiha Si Thu, defender Win Min Htut, and striker Soe Min Oo have been relevant in their recent campaigns.
They recent opponents of Ceres-Negros in the AFC Champion’s League Prelims where the Filipino club outlasted the home squad in the penalty shootout after an entertaining extra time period.
Asare cancelled out a Stephan Schrock strike in extra time to force the knockout match to penalties but Ceres were perfect from the spot to earn their first win in Asia’s top continental competition.