Philippine Club Ceres-Negros FC will start their 2017 RHB Singapore Cup campaign when they face Hougang United in a one-game preliminary round on June 20 at the Hougang Stadium in Singapore. The Negros club will meet the Hougang side for the first time in the annual Singapore tournament.
The Busmen are back in the tournament after placing third in the 2016 edition. Ceres beat the Garena Young Lions in the preliminaries before disposing of DPMM Brunei in the quarterfinals. They however fell short of the final when they were knocked in extra time against finalist Tampines Rovers. The Pinoy football club settled for a podium finish after beating Balestier Khalsa in the third place match. Hougang were eliminated by Balestier in their preliminary match.
Hougang United have yet to play since the long S.League break starting at the end of May. They scored a win, a draw, and a loss in their last three matches after bowing to Tampines 3-0 in their final match last May 25. The Cheetas will be bannered by their recent national call-ups in Zulfahmi Arifin and Nazrul Nazari together with their outstanding custodian in Khairulhin Khalid. Former Albirex Nigata players Atushi Shirota and Fumiya Kogure are also part of the group with former Kaya player Pablo Rodriguez.
Ceres-Negros scored two wins and a loss in their last three matches with wins against JDT and Global with a recent loss against JPV Marikina. The full team is fit and available for Tuesday’s match which will include the likes of Stephan Schrock, Bienvenido Maranon, and Fernando Rodriguez. The Bacolod squad is keen to bounce back after the setback last weekend and in preparation for the PFL match against Kaya in a few days.
Ceres centerback Manuel “Super” Herrera believes that there will be a big challenge especially playing against a club like Hougang. “We have tomorrow, a difficult match,” said Herrera. “I don’t know the opponent very well so we will see the team with the coach. We want to win of course and the team is very focused to get a result,” added the former Real Betis player.
The match will kickoff at 830PM at the Hougang ActiveSG Stadium in Singapore. There will be no livestream nor tv coverage for the match.
Photo from Great Easter Yeo’s S League