Ceres-Negros travels to Singapore to face Home United in Match Day 2 of the AFC Cup on February 27 at the Jalan Besar Stadium. At stake is the top spot in Group F for the current leaders and former ASEAN Zone finalists.
The two rivals started their campaign with impressive wins on opening day. A fine display in the second half allowed the Singaporean squad to edge the misfiring Shan United for the 1-0 win.
Song Ui Yong scored the winner in the 75th minute and was also declared the man of the match with his influence in the match. Goalkeeper Rudy Khailrullah was the other difference maker for Home United who made important stops on goal and preserve the clean sheet for the visitors.
Ceres-Negros put on a offensive performance in Panaad despite the storm that was passing over the Negros that night. Takumi Uesato, Bienvenido Maranon, and OJ Porteria scored individual braces while Carli De Murga and Manny Ott also added a goal apiece.
It will be the third time for both teams to meet in their history after the two legged ASEAN Zone final in last years’ edition of the tournament. Home drew first blood at home but Ceres performed well to win the title in Panaad.
Circumstances are now different for both squads and especially for Home United after a massive overhaul in their lineup. Veterans Sharil Ishak and Shakir Hamzah have come over after the departure of former stars to team up with returnees in Song, Farits Hameed, Anumanthan, and Abdil Qaiyyim.
Home United played good tactical football versus Shan United. Effectively stifling the opponents strikers and even producing brilliant plays in the attack. They will be much tougher with the return of defenders Sirina Camara and Shakir after serving a suspension in the first match.
Ceres-Negros meanwhile are going into their second match in better shape after the recoveries from separate issues. Kevin Ingreso and Stephan Schrock have fully recovered from stomach problems while Junior Munoz is back after a slight ankle sprain.
Coach Risto Vidakovic meanwhile will have plenty of players in his disposal with the full return of Manny Ott and the others from sick bay. Tony Doblas and company will be tested this time around with the threats of Sharil and Song leading the dangerous Home attack.
Home United are still undefeated at Jalan Besar since 2017 and have won all their AFC Cup games including the first leg of the Zonal final against Ceres. Both teams will be fighting for the full three points and pole position come Tuesday as only the top team will be assured qualification for the next round.
The top of the table clash between the rivals is scheduled to kickoff at 730PM and will be shown live over Fox Sports (1).