FOLLOWING their victories on Match Day 2 in their respective groups at the ongoing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup last week, Philippine clubs Ceres-La Salle FC and Kaya FC have raised their stock in the competition, this, according to a local football analyst. Ceres-La Salle FC is running second in Group E of the AFC Cup group stage. -- the-afc.com Bacolod-based Ceres was a 2-0 winner in its Group E encounter against Bangladeshi side Lt. Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Ltd. in Dhaka last Tuesday with Adrian Gallardo at the forefront with a brace. On the same day, Kaya defeated New Radiant SC, 1-0, in front of the hometown crowd at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on a last-gasp goal from forward OJ Porteria.
The wins propelled the two clubs to better spots in the standings early.
Ceres (1-1-0), the United Football League (UFL) Division 1 champion, is now at second in its group with four points, behind Tampines Rovers of Singapore (2-0-0) with six. Defending UFL Cup champion and first-time AFC Cup participant Kaya (1-0-1), meanwhile, is joint second in Group F with Kitchee FC of Hong Kong (1-0-1) with three points each.
“Those were big wins for Ceres and Kaya on Match Day 2. If before, other teams took Philippine club football teams for granted and looked at Ceres and, especially Kaya, as automatic three points, I think they won’t do so now,” said Ryan Fenix, who is the resident football analyst of Interaksyon.com and author of the column Rampaging Fullback when asked by BusinessWorld for his thoughts on the twin wins of the Philippine clubs on Match Day 2.
SOLID DEFENSIVELY Considering it is making its maiden appearance in the AFC Cup, Asia’s secondary club football tournament, Mr. Fenix said that he is impressed with the performance of the fairly young Kaya squad, particularly defensively.
In its first two games of the tournament, Kaya has been making its opponents work hard, allowing only one point up to this mark.
“Kaya is playing solid defensively. Plus youth has served them in good stead in that they have been unafraid and just taking the game to the opposition,” said the analyst.
On the part of Ceres, Mr. Fenix highlighted how the club has significantly improved since having its first taste of AFC Cup action last year.
It retooled this season and is paying immediate dividends as it has yet to drop a single match with no signs of slowing down.
Ceres and Kaya take the field anew tomorrow and for Mr. Fenix the work continues for them. Ceres plays in Singapore against Tampines Rovers in a virtual fight for top spot while Kaya stays at home against Balestier Khalsa of Singapore.
“That Ceres is playing in Singapore is good for it. Imagine if Ceres had to fly back from Bangladesh to Manila, play a game, and fly to Singapore? From Bangladesh to Singapore, Ceres has more to time to rest, prepare and stay sharp,” he said.
“For Kaya, while it is has been making a good account of itself, it needs continue to improve if it is to go deeper in the tournament,” Mr. Fenix added.
In the AFC Cup group stage, teams play in a round-robin of home-and-away games with the top two from the eight groups, of four teams each, advancing to the round of 16.
SUZUKI CUP HOSTING Meanwhile, in local football-related news, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) announced at the weekend that the country will be hosting the group stage of the 2016 Suzuki Cup later this year.
Initially planned to drop hosting duties due to lack of “acceptable” venues to play in, the PFF said a “breakthrough” happened after securing commitment from the handlers of the Philippine Sports Stadium (PSS) in Bulacan for the high-profile regional sporting event.
“The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Football Federation (AFF) Council has confirmed during its meeting today (Saturday) at Da Nang, Vietnam, the hosting by the Philippines of the Group Stage of AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 on 19-26 November 2016. The hosting of this event is an opportunity and a challenge to PFF and all football stakeholders in the Philippines. PFF is thankful for the robust support of the Philippine Sports Commission and the meaningful cooperation of the Philippine Sports Stadium to help promote football especially to our nation’s youth,” said PFF General Secretary Ed Gastanes in a statement.
As things stand, the PSS will serve as the main venue for the Suzuki Cup with the Rizal Memorial Stadium being a secondary venue.
[AFC Cup 2016] Tampines Rovers: Scouting Report Posted on March 13, 2016
Philippine club Ceres-La Salle FC now goes to Singapore for Match Day 3 of the 2016 AFC Cup. Waiting for them are Group E leaders Tampines Rovers who are keen to extend their unbeaten run in the tournament with two wins and no goals conceded.
Photo from Tampines Rovers Wikipedia Page
Tampines Rovers is a Singaporean football club founded in 1945. It is known to be one of Singapore’s richest clubs and is a perennial contender in the S.League. Also known as the Mighty Stags, the Singaporean Club placed second in the 2015 edition of the S-League which allowed them to qualify for the tournament. Tampines has made headlines at the the start of the year with their high profile acquisitions producing on what is, on-paper, Singapore’s strongest club.
Players to Watch
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) employs a 3+1 foreign player rule where 3 Non-Asians and 1 Asian player can be included in the line-up of different clubs. This allows the development of local talent within the country and the continent.
#9 Jermaine Pennant (Midfielder) The former Arsenal & Liverpool midfielder is the most popular of the bunch. Pennant shocked the footballing world last January when he signed for the Singapore outfit upping the ante in the S-League and the AFC Cup. The veteran showcased his quality against Sheikh Jamal producing fine runs and assists along the way. Expect a well rested Pennant showing his quality in the Ceres match.
#25 Billy Mehmet (Forward) The 31-year old Irishman is a veteran of southeast Asia with experience in Australia, Thailand, and Malaysia. The former West Ham youth player is a known goalscorer leveraging his height and finishing ability. With a height of 1.89m (6’2″ft), he will be a handful for Ceres’ centerbacks.
#17 Jordan Webb (Midfielder) Fast, flashy, and at the top of his game, Webb is already an S.League veteran at a tender age of 27. The Canadian was a handful against Selangor in Matchday 2, allowing Tampines Coach V. Sundramoorthy to rest both Pennant and Mehmet. A deadly player on both side wings with a little attitude to go, he will be a joy to watch.
#20 Kwon Jun (Defender) Tampines Rovers’ Asian player, Kwon Jun is a lanky centerback who has plenty of experience around Asia and Brazil. Kwon Jun earned international experience in Brazil at a very young age. He then went around Asia earning contracts in Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, ans Indonesia.
#1 Izwan Mahbud (Goalkeeper) The 25-year old goalkeeper may seem young but he already has all the experience he needs both at club and national team levels. Izwan once played against the Philippines four years ago in the Suzuki Cup and a trial earlier this year with a Japanese club only validates his quality as a goalkeeper.
#4 Mustafic Fahrudin (Defender) The Naturalized Singaporean is the captain for Tampines Rovers. The Serbian-born player operates both as a defensive midfielder or a centerback. Mustafic is a rugged defensive player who is 1.80m tall. He struggled to guard Selangor giant Patrick Wleh, but the 1-0 scoreline erases all doubts about his capability.
#10 Fazrul Nawaz (Forward) Wearing a scrum cap due to a prior injury, this tall forward has a knack for goal epitomized by scoring the winner against Selangor. He is expected to start on the bench against Ceres
#13 Yasir Hanapi (Midfielder) Tampines’ midfield general is a new acquisition from S-League team Home United. The midfielder has been a constant feature in the Tampines games because of his consistency on the pitch. Considered as one of the better young players in Singapore together with teammate Izzdin Shafiq, he has played a key role in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Tampines Coach V. Sundramoorthy uses two different formation in the 3-4-3 and the 4-4-2 with preference on the former. The formation becomes 5-4-1 defensively which choked the Selangor offense to a scoreless performance. As this is a home game, the wingbacks would be in a more central role than a defensive one.
A three-man backline was deployed in the last match against Selangor using Afiq, Kwon Jun, and Mustafic as centerbacks and Irwan and Fabian as wingbacks for a tougher backline. The defensive line had issues with the speed of R. Gopinathan who had a lot of forays into the box.
The midfield has a dearth of multi-position midfielders on his bench. Yasir has been has been the mainstay in the middle but Izzdin, Shahdan, and Hafiz all rotate as the left central midfield. Should Yasir be injured, anyone can easily replace his presence in the middle. The Tampines midfield has a diamond-like shape allowing them to shift the action from both sides utilizing good spacing and passing to benefit their dangerous forward players.
The Mighty Stag’s have Mehmet or Fazrul as the target man but the team has only been using either one of them for the last few games. Fazrul scored the winner against Selangor but it is expected that Mehmet will start alongside Jordan and Pennant. Both wingers have quality individual skills to get past their marking providing good crosses or attempts in the process.
Overall, Tampines Rovers is a a very disciplined team who has come out on top on both of their matches so far. They are hard to break down defensively in the AFC Cup but they have conceded plenty in the S.League. The attacking trio of Pennant, Mehmet, and Webb will need to be contained in order the visiting side to get a result.
Three of us in our group might watch tomorrow's game between Ceres and Tampines....work schedule permitting. Coincidentally we are all from Tampines....if that is reason enough to have a cheering dilemma haha.
Three of us in our group might watch tomorrow's game between Ceres and Tampines....work schedule permitting. Coincidentally we are all from Tampines....if that is reason enough to have a cheering dilemma haha.
Great! Hope to see a good number of pinoys there, I'm coming from Tanglin Halt Road. Go Ceres!
Apparently preparations for Ceres did not go as planned:
They stepped off the pitch at Bangladesh's Bangabandhu National Stadium last Wednesday wearing broad smiles after securing their first-ever AFC Cup win, but those grins quickly disappeared.
That 2-0 Group E triumph over Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi kick-started a 21-hour travel nightmare that Philippine side Ceres-La Salle insist have hurt their preparations for tonight's fixture against S.League giants Tampines Rovers at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Ceres have four points from two games and sit in second spot, only two adrift of group leaders Tampines, but the visitors believe they are real underdogs when they step out onto the turf this evening.
"That trip back from Dhaka (starting on Thursday) took us - door to door - maybe 21 hours, then after one day's rest, we had a training session (on Friday in Bacolod) at 6am, because pitches aren't always easily available in the Philippines," Ceres midfielder Stephan Schrock said yesterday.
"Then on Saturday, we flew to Singapore at 6am - that means getting to the airport at 4am - we just haven't had proper sleep for a while.
Schrock, who has turned out in the German Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt, believes that the hosts hold the upper hand.
"If we can take home a point, it would be a good result for the whole of the Philippines, of course better if we can get all three," said the 29-year-old.
"With four points after two games, we're in a very good position. Football in the Philippines is still progressing and we're clearly the underdogs in the group. We're still very excited and very proud to be involved in this campaign."
Singapore have won the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup four times, while the Philippines have qualified for the semi-finals of the last three editions but have never won the tournament since its inception in 1996.
Tampines coach V Sundramoorthy is taking nothing for granted, as his side look for their third consecutive group win - after a 4-0 victory over Dhanmondi, they edged Selangor 1-0 last Tuesday - that will take them to within touching distance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
"We will put out the strongest team available and try to win the game," said the former Singapore international, who has a squad free of serious injuries and suspensions.
Said Singapore international Ismadi Muhtar: "The Tampines project is a long-term project. (Doing well in) the AFC Cup is the next step for us, like Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) did for Malaysia."
Led by Singapore international Hariss Harun, JDT became the first Malaysian side to win the AFC Cup - the second tier to the AFC Champions League that is contested by the best clubs in Asia - when they beat Tajikistan outfit Istiklol 1-0 in the final last October.
No Singapore side have won the AFC Cup, with Geylang International and Home United going furthest, both losing in the 2004 semi-finals.
S.League sides have struggled in the AFC Cup in recent years, with Warriors FC and Balestier Khalsa finishing last in their respective groups last year.
Balestier are also involved in the tournament this year. Marko Kraljevic's team are top of Group F standings with four points from two games.
Kaya FC 1-0 Balestier Khalsa (Ugarte 48') Ceres FC 1-1 Tampines Rover (Gallardo 88')
Good results for the Philippine clubs. Kaya FC defended their home turf by winning at home, while Ceres gained a valuable point on the road in Singapore. Kaya FC now on top of Group F with 6 points while Ceres is at 2nd with 5 points after 3 games in Group E. At the halfway point of the group stage both clubs have excellent chances of making it to the knockout stage. Gallardo of Ceres now with 4 goals.
Very loud crowd support by the Kaya fans. Attendance looks good.
good results indeed! Never thought Kaya to play this good at this level. they're inconsistent in the Ufl but now surpasses Global for having more wins in the AFC Cup. Ceres is still my favorite to advance because of their NT players, but the combination of Kaya's youth and veteran players gave them a different style of play. looking forward for a soldout crowd of Ceres' home game next month
Bacolod squad Ceres-La Salle FC resume it’s 2016 AFC Cup campaign on Matchday 4, hosting Singapore giants’ Tampines Rovers. The Group E leaders are still unbeaten after three games, earning 7 points in the group after two wins and a draw. The Busmen, who are also unbeaten, are in close second with 5 points with a win and 2 draws. Selangor of Malaysia are third with four points and Sheikh Jamal with zero.
The Rovers have been on a three game winning streak in the S.League scoring 2-1 wins against Brunei DPMM and Young Lions while beating fellow AFC Cup participant, Balestier Khalsa 1-0 last Thursday. They are are now on top of the S.League and are favorites to win the league title.
Ceres meanwhile have been holding their own, qualifying to the final of the 2016 UFL Cup after beating Kaya FC, on penalties last Thursday. Kaya FC leads Group F of the AFC Cup with two wins and a loss. The semifinal match was a frantic affair with both squads scoring 2 goals each in the first 20 minutes. Ceres went ahead 3-2 ten minutes before the half but Kaya equalized in the middle of the second and force the game to penalties. In the end, a Mike Casas save and Juani Guirado go-ahead kick booked Ceres to their second straight UFL Cup final. All eyes are now on the match against Tampines.
“Of course, I think it’s the most important game for us this season (especially) right now. If we win this game (against Tampines) we have a serious chance to pass the next round. But first we fly to Bacolod and we have to recover from this hard game and recover the few players we have injured and (we) will be in the game 100 percent,” said veteran Juani Guirado.
A win though is tough task especially that you have to defend against the three headed attack of Tampines. Jordan Webb, Billy Mehmet, and former Liverpool and Arsenal winger, Jermaine Pennant. Ceres was controlling the game in Singapore and it only took one defensive lapse for Webb to get free and turn the game to its head by assisting the first goal. Good thing that the Ceres offense went alive in the end with Patrick Reichelt heading a pass towards Adrian Gallardo who slotted the all-important equalizer.
Breaching the Tampines goal was an achievement as it was a first in the group stage. The heads up play of the midfield was good, leaving the coach with plenty of options on Tuesday. The club is in deep preparation for the match, leaving nothing to chance, and aiming for a good result for the home fans.
“Siyempre yung mga error namin ngayon i-check namin and ang sarap pala lumaban kapag kalaban mo mga ganito. Kami naman di naman tinitingnan yung mga pangalan nila so we have to do or play the best that we can for the people in Pana-ad, management, ourselves, our families, and of course to God,” said Ceres keeper Mike Casas.
The second AFC Cup home match would not be possible without the help of the provincial government headed by Gov. Alfredo G. Maranon Jr. The match was initially set in Manila after a scheduling conflict with the Pana-ad festival, but the annual event was moved for various reasons which includes the AFC Cup match.
[AFC Cup 2016] Tampines Rovers: Scouting Report Part 2 Posted on April 10, 2016
Ceres-La Salle FC will now host Singaporean powerhouse Tampines Rovers at home for their AFC Cup match on April 12 at the Pana-ad Stadium. The Bacolod squad scored a 1-1 draw with the Singaporean club last March 15 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Tampines was good as advertised scoring the opener in Singapore, but Ceres came back to salvage a draw to frustrate the home squad. The Busmen were on point defensively during the match save for the goal allowed in the early part of the second half. Offensively, they controlled the midfield with Paul Mulders and Manny Ott but the Tampines defense were equal to the Ceres forwards.
The Rovers have recently fashioned a three-game winning streak in the S.League since the AFC Cup match beating current champions Brunei DPMM 2-1, Garena Young Lions 2-1, and recently fellow AFC Cup Team Balestier Khalsa 1-0.
Starters vs Brunei DPMM: Izwan Mahbud (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Christopher Van Huizen (Jermaine Pennant 61’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Fazrul Nawaz (Yasir Hanapi 67’), Jordan Webb (Mustafic Fahrudin 74’), Izzdin Shafiq, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Billy Mehmet
Early goals in Brunei spelled the difference in this match but DPMM came back firing for an equalizer in the end. Tampines was on the defensive the remaining part of the match but the Bruneian squad couldn’t find the back of the net. The Rovers were sporting a 4-4-2 formation with Mehmet and Fazrul up top and four at the back, deviating from the favored back three of Coach V.
Starters vs Young Lions: Izwan Mahbud (GK) (Joey Sim 77’), Mustafic Fahrudin, Fabian Kwok, Shakir Hamzah, Irwan Shah, Christopher van Huizen (Fazrul Nawaz 61’), Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant, Jordan Webb (Hafiz Sujad 64’), Izzdin Shafiq, Billy Mehmet
Playing against Singapore’s developmental team might have allowed the Rovers to put less pressure on the pedal but the then number two S.League squad had other ideas scoring two early goals again. The Young Lions got a penalty back but the action was still on Tampinese favor till the end. The favored 3-4-3 formation was used in the match.
Starters vs Balestier Khalsa: Joey Sim (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad, Yasir Hanapi, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant (Mustafic Fahrudin 83′), Jordan Webb (Izzdin Shafiq 90′), Fazrul Nawaz (Sufian Anuar 62′), Billy Mehmet
Against Balestier, the S.League leaders were attacking from all over with carving out chances with plays coming from the wings and the counter. Their finishing betrayed them for the most parts but the winning goal was a beauty. A terrific pass from Pennant was met by Webb, looping a header over the keeper towards the far post. Tampines was aggressive, clogging the middle with five midfielders, with two up front and three at the back.
Coach V. Sundramoorthy used a 4 man backline against Ceres in Jalan Besar, but a 3-4-3 may be favorable to him this time because of its flexibility for the mids to defend. The three attackers in Jordan, Mehmet, and Pennant are untouchable but it should be noted that the three are now comfortable in interchanging positions where necessary, spoiling the defensive marking of the opponents.
The middle would be a combination of Hafiz on the left with Shahdan and Yasir holding the middle. The right midfield would be a question between midlfielder Christopher Van Huizen or right-back Fabian Kwok. Van Huizen hasn’t been fully utilized for a whole match while Fabian was used the whole match in the same 3-4-3 formation. Fabian may take the nod in this game with Chris as the safety.
The best way to beat this team is to make sure that they would have less of the ball and be wary of their counterattacks coming from their deadly wingers. Ceres had some semblance of this the last game, but a switch between Jordan and Pennant in the end caused a defensive lapse that led to a goal.
BoyBacolod: what lol 😋
Feb 23, 2019 12:57:25 GMT 8
truman: keep ting on basketball, mate. accept it, we can't cope up with its popularity. Dont hate on the sport. Blame PFF for not marketing the sport well enough.Now that the Philippines is in the FIBA World Cup, it would be a loooot harder for ustogainsupport
Feb 25, 2019 0:44:10 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: If some UAAP or NCAA schools will join the new league in one form or another, it may remove the gap between U22s and seniors. The schools can devise a system akin to sports academies, education is important after all.
Feb 28, 2019 18:16:35 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Will the PFL be like the San Marino league system, where there are no so-called "home" stadiums.
Mar 2, 2019 12:39:19 GMT 8
leoisiah: Gibraltar also has a single stadium for their league.
Mar 12, 2019 8:27:57 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Rules are rules are rules. The two clubs should have known better. They are given loads of time to act on it. And to those who say PFF sucks, sometimes they do but one thing they are consistent is sticking to the rules.
Mar 25, 2019 10:42:16 GMT 8
truman: Agree @boybacolod
Mar 25, 2019 14:49:21 GMT 8
truman: lowkey cringe sa conyoness ng PPL FB page.
Apr 8, 2019 10:11:23 GMT 8
truman: sad day for philippine football
Apr 27, 2019 13:22:38 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Why I like UAAP football, no more extra games for seeding.Makes me think about European efficiency. Wish gayahin din sa basketball (very sketchy tiebreakers), like Euroleague.
May 8, 2019 14:02:35 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Negros Occidental footy fans, expect more football this 2019, now that a San Carlos native is governor.
May 14, 2019 2:05:22 GMT 8
Jun 9, 2019 18:39:47 GMT 8
@BoyBacolod: Hamak na mungkahi lang. Mabuti siguro kung maipromote ulit ang larong sipa. Daming maling sa sipa na mga bata, mabuting transistion for futsal, kung hindi regular football. Parang sa Thailand, sepak takraw, o chinlone sa Myanmar.
Jul 24, 2019 19:12:53 GMT 8
bluedevil2k8: guys please support the across the line podcast
Sept 16, 2019 19:18:16 GMT 8
papajamba: listening now to simone rota - across the line podcast
Sept 16, 2019 23:48:32 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: As long as Ricky Yanson is professional to Ceres FC and extends support to the Azkals in general (Ceres Azkals in particular) during home games, he can be PFF president in my book. Much better will be reconciling with Leo, though that idea is Farfetch'd.
Sept 21, 2019 23:07:36 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: Kaya fans wishing that Ricky Yanson wins the PFF presidency is akin to GMA fans wishing that Congress and President Duterte will not renew ABS-CBN's franchise.
Oct 24, 2019 21:10:39 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: We will wait for the basketball and volleyball ASEAN teams and then we compare their reception to that given to the football delegations, where ALL ASEAN nations participate. Now there will be foreign scrutiny in every move of PHISGOC.
Nov 24, 2019 23:20:26 GMT 8
BoyBacolod: DDS trolls underestimated the SEA football community. Having no prior exposure to football culture, they dismiss any and all so-called sabotages as destabilization plots, to the point that they do not support the teams, especially the women.
Nov 27, 2019 15:25:36 GMT 8
Passerby: That's awkwardly worded.
Mar 6, 2020 21:09:41 GMT 8