After loss to Tokyo, rising Ceres looking to impress in AFC Cup
Ceres-Negros hopes its return as the top Southeast Asian club in the latest Asian Football Confederation rankings will lure more support for Filipino clubs seeing action in the AFC Cup and the Philippines Football League (PFL).
The Busmen reclaimed the top spot ahead of Thai giants Buriram United after reaching the playoff in the AFC Champions League, where they lost to FC Tokyo, 2-0, in the Japanese capital on Tuesday.
The defeat relegated the Busmen to the AFC Cup for the fifth straight year, but their impressive qualifying run was enough to earn them 5.5 ranking points for a total of 40.75, overtaking Buriram, which has 40.63.
Ceres slipped past Shan United of Myanmar, 3-2, in the first phase, before pulling off a 1-0 win over Thai powerhouse Port FC in the only upset of the second phase of qualifying.
“The [top] ranking is really a reward for the hard work and sacrifices of the players and coaching staff,” said Ceres-Negros owner Leo Rey Yanson.
“Our last three matches—even against FC Tokyo—showed that the level of the Philippines is improving. But Ceres would not have reached this position if not for the clubs in the PFL, the Philippine Football Federation and the people who have made sure that the league continues to run so we share this honor with all of them.”
The Busmen, however, will need to reinforce their ranking with a strong performance in the AFC Cup.
Ceres has been bunched with Indonesian champions Bali United, Than Quang Ninh of Vietnam and Cambodia’s Svay Rieng in Group G of the Asean zone.
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.
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.
After a busy off season, Kaya FC–Iloilo are set to debut their new-look squad on Wednesday, February 12, against Myanmar National League Champions Shan United. With five new players, two new coaches, and former number two, Yu Hoshide, now leading the team, Kaya enter their third run in the prestigious continental competition, looking to improve from last year’s group stage exit.
“The coaching staff and three foreigners have been changed, but I have a strong feeling that we’ll be a better club — better than we were in the past few years,” said Yu Hoshide. “Half of me is really excited, and half of me is nervous. This group hasn’t played this level of competition yet. But now we have a chance to show what we’ve been doing in training.”
Wednesday’s opponents, Shan United, will be quite the first test for Iloilo. Not only have the Shan Warriors been crowned champions of two of the last three domestic seasons, they went unbeaten in 22 matches en route to the title last year. Bannered by their Burmese top scorer Dway Ko Ko Chit, along with African recruits from the Ivory Coast, Liberia and Ghana, Shan are rife with dangerous weapons, particularly on the counter attack.
“We came here not for a vacation, but for a win. We’re only thinking about the win — not relaxing or enjoying. We need to prepare for the game. We’re focused on winning. That winning mentality is important for us,” added Yu.
Victory over Myanmar’s champions in their own backyard would be the perfect start in a tricky group (H) that includes Singapore’s Tampines Rovers, and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar.
“It’s a really tough group, but we have a chance. We’re always challengers. There’s no need to be afraid. We will challenge in all games from the kickoff until the 90th minute. That’s my style — always challenge.”
Wednesday’s match will be played at the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon at 5PM (Philippine time), and will be aired live on Fox Sports 2.
Ceres-Negros opens AFC Cup campaign with 4-0 win over Svay Rieng
Ceres Negros opened their AFC Cup campaign with a 4-0 win over Cambodian champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC last February 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Takashi Odawara, Josh Grommen, and Bienvenido Maranon all found the back of the net after assists from OJ Porteria, Stephan Schrock, and Manny Ott.
The busmen came out firing early in the match after Odawara picked out the bottom corner of the Svay Rieng goal in the 12th minute. Minutes later, Schrock sent a cross towards the far post where Grommen did enough to put the ball past the goal line.
The Cambodian champions had a good chance to get a goal back after Jean Marie Mbarga was clipped by Grommen near the edge of the box in the 22nd. Brazilian Thiago Dos Santos stepped up for the penalty but Roland Muller came up with a fine save. The Ceres shot stopper guessed right and tapped the ball wide to keep the clean sheet.
Both teams battled in the remaining minutes but the busmen came out with the better chances. Robert Lopez Mendy’s one-two combination with Schrock was blocked while the defense while twin chances from Ott and Porteria near the end were blocked by the visitor. The half ended with the home squad carrying a two goal cushion.
The Negros squad again pushed the tempo at the start of the half and scored another team goal after a good passing sequence after a broken play from Ott and Maranon saw the Spaniard unleash an inch perfect strike to the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
Maranon completed his brace after a set-up from Porteria allowed him to poke the ball past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Aim Sovanarrath and score the team’s fourth goal.
Sean Kane almost made it five in the 88th minute but his header off a corner bounced off the post. Moments later Porteria tried an overhead kick but his attempt went wide. Chhin Chhoeun had a chance to score in injury time but the shot went wide.
The referee blew the final whistle as the Philippine champions took all three points in matchday one. The 4-1 win by Bali United over Than Quang Ninh meant that the Busmen would take leadership of Group G. They will face Than Quang Ninh next on February 25.
Kaya FC–Iloilo Down Myanmar Champions for Dream Start in AFC Cup 2020
AFC Cup 2020 | Group H Shan United 0 – 2 Kaya FC–Iloilo Thuwunna Stadium
12 February 2020; Yangon, Myanmar — Kaya FC–Iloilo banked on an inspired second half to take all three points against Myanmar Champions, Shan United, on Wednesday afternoon at the Thuwunna Stadium. Goals from captain Jovin Bedic, and substitute Eric Giganto did the damage as the match finished 2-0 in favor of the Philippine club.
“The first half we struggled a little bit, but we turned things around in the second half,” said Kaya head coach Oliver Colina. “We got what we came for. It doesn’t matter if it’s two-nil, one-nil, or whatever. We got the three points, and that was our objective coming here.”
Although Iloilo almost scored in just the third minute of play, the bright start wasn’t sustained in the opening half. Shan United took advantage and took control of the tempo, and in the 26th they almost broke through. Free on a rare one-on-one Mike Casas needed to pull off a fine save to keep the scores level heading into the break.
After canceling one another out in a cagey opening period, things began to open up as the second half wore on. With the introductions of Eric Giganto and Arnel Amita, Kaya started to find a bit more pace in their attack. With just over 15 minutes remaining, Amita was brought down inside the box, earning a vital penalty, which captain Jovin Bedic casually tucked away.
12 minutes later, Arnel was involved again as the Philippine side doubled their advantage. Amita picked off the ball near the halfway line, dashed into the box, and managed to poke the ball into the path of Giganto who first-timed the ball into the corner of the net.
“The penalty changed the game. We scored that goal and the momentum changed. Shan United remained composed, but with all due respect, we’re a strong team also. We just played our game, got our chance and we took it,” said Colina.
“The feeling is great, especially to score here in Myanmar. They’re a good team. We saw them play before in the Philippines. Credit to my teammates, they worked so hard over the 90 minutes. Me, I was just in the right place at the right time and I scored. Actually I’m not looking for the Man of the Match. My whole team did well. I give the credit to them,” said Eric Giganto after the game.
The 2-0 victory places Kaya FC–Iloilo momentarily atop of Group H, an ideal position ahead of their home match against Tampines Rovers on February 26, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Despite the draw, Kaya-Iloilo FC stays on top of Group H in the 2020 AFC Cup
MANILA, Philippines – Kaya-Iloilo FC and Tampines Rovers shared the spoils of a 0-0 draw in the 2020 AFC Cup on Wednesday, February 26, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Kaya stayed on top of Group H with 4 points off a 2-1-0 record and a +2 goal difference, while Tampines Rovers trailed behind the Philippines Football League Cup champion with 4 points and a +1 goal difference.
The Philippine club aims to bounce back as it faces Indonesian squad PSM Makassar on Tuesday, March 10 in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Both teams failed to break the stalemate throughout the match that was plagued by lackluster offense from both sides.
Kaya goalkeeper Louie Casas proved to be the key to holding off Tampines Rovers down the stretch as he deflected a crucial shot towards the near-post by Boris Kopitovic in the 86th minute.
"Kudos to my defense also. Before the game, we always talk to each other. As long as we don’t concede, we do not lose. We hope to continue throughout this whole tournament," said Casas, who was vital in keeping Kaya's second straight clean sheet in the tournament.
Tampines Rovers attempted to milk its possessions with a corner and a free kick in the 90th minute, but the Stags failed to capitalize on the advantages.
Kaya's best chance came in the 27th minute where Jayson Panhay's free kick almost found the back of the net, but it sailed just wide
Kaya FC–Iloilo and PSM Makassar Renew Rivalry in AFC Cup
A year after two fiery matches in the AFC Cup, the Philippines’ Kaya FC–Iloilo and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar are set to meet again in back-to-back games in the Asian club competition. The teams will face off on Tuesday, March 10, at the Gelora Bung Karno Madya Stadium in Jakarta, before meeting again in Manila on April 15. With only a point separating the two sides in Group H, and the memory of last year’s contests still fresh, both contests are expected to bring plenty of exciting action.
“PSM is one of the tough opponents in the group. We just played last year, and over two matches we didn’t win against them. We’re happy that we’re grouped together again, and this time we’ll try to get a win,” said Kaya head coach Oliver Colina.
After missing out on the majority of matches in 2019, Simone Rota has played the full 90 minutes in the last two outings and is expected to partner Carlyle Mitchell in the heart of Kaya’s defense once again.
“It’s been two weeks that we’ve been preparing. We know they’re a strong team, and we know that every point is important for us to reach the next stage,” he said. “We played them last year, but this time we are a new side — new signings, new coaching staff, so I think we will do better this time.”
While the domestic league in the Philippines has yet to begin, PSM Makassar have had a few more matches to get acquainted with their new Croatian coach Bojan Hodak. Including the qualifying round for the AFC Cup, the Indonesian side have managed four wins, one draw, and one defeat in 2020 so far. Although presumably sharper in terms of fitness, their busy schedule has not been without some setbacks.
“Maybe it’s not an advantage for them that their league hasn’t started, but they are fresh. For us, it’s our fourth match in 12 days,” said Hodak “We have a few players that can’t play. Our captain, Wiljan Pluim had a red card and is still suspended for this match. We have two or three players who are either injured or sick after our last match as well.”
“They’ve played two games and they have played really well. They had a draw away to Shan [United], and had a draw against Tampines [Rovers], so at the moment they are leading the table (Group H). It will be a tough match,” he added. “They don’t have many stars on their team, but they are a very hard working team. We must give respect to them also.”
Among those fit to play for PSM is in-form Indonesian striker Ferdinand Sinaga, who boasts a tally of six goals in the 2020 AFC Cup so far.
“We watched a lot of their games, but it’s not just about individuals in football. We need to deal with the whole team. We’ve studied how the team plays, and we’ve studied the individuals as well,” said Colina. “We just found out today that he (Pluim) will not play. He’s a very good player and one that carries the team. We are very happy he’s out, but again this team has a lot of good players,” said Colina.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Tuesday’s match will be played behind closed doors, denying PSM’s passionate supporters the opportunity to act as the team’s 12th man.
“We know we are playing behind closed doors. Normally there is a big crowd, so right now we are just focusing on ourselves and we’re not really thinking of anything [outside of that],” said Rota. “In the past two weeks, we’ve really focused on our team. We’ve looked at some of their games, but really we’re focused on us, and what we need to do.”
Tuesday’s match will kickoff at 4:30PM Philippine Time, and will be aired live on Fox Sports 2, One Sports PH’s TV Channel, Facebook Page, and YouTube.
Philippines Football League side Kaya FC-Iloilo remained undefeated in Group H following a 1-1 draw with Indonesian side PSM Makassar in Tuesday’s AFC Cup fixture at the Gelora Bung Karno Madya Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The match, which was played behind closed doors as a safety precaution brought on by the COVID-19 virus, saw Kaya gain a man advantage inside the first ten minutes after PSM’s Dedy Gusmawan was sent-off after two quick-fire bookings.
However, the hosts, made the most out of the disadvantage with the first goal of the match. Osas Saha made his way through the Kaya defense and converted from close range in the 22nd minute. Kaya capitalized on each opportunity to draw level but were unable to convert their chances until the 50th minute. Substitute Arnel Amita picked out Eric Giganto, who headed in the equalizer.
The forward almost completed the comeback 11 minutes later but was unable to hit the target. Captain Jovin Bedic and Takumi Uesato also came close for Kaya but fluffed their chances.
Kaya remained on top of Group H with one win and two draws. They will face the same opposition on 15 April 2020 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Ceres-Negros meets Bali United for the first time in AFC Cup
Ceres-Negros FC faces Indonesian champions Bali United for the first time when they meet in Matchday 3 of AFC Cup on March 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
The Busmen will look to bounce back from a disappointing draw against Than Quang Ninh last February 25. The visitors took the lead with Jermie Lynch’s opener but Bienvenido Maranon equalized from the spot just before halftime.
OJ Porteria scored the go ahead goal in the second half but poor defending off a set piece allowed Hai Huy to score the equalizer to salvage a precious point for the Vietnamese squad.
Bali United also had a similar fate in Match Day two after 4-1 win in opening day was reversed by the Cambodian champions in Phnom Penh. Two early goals from Svay Rieng saw the Indonesians chase the game but they could only muster a goal from Ilija Spasojevic to finish at 2-1.
Both teams will be looking to get maximum points as the top and bottom teams are only separated by three points with three full matches left to play after March 11.
“In our group, anything can happen,” said Ceres Coach Risto Vidakovic. “All the teams are good. All the teams are competitive. We played against Svay at home but it was not an easy game.”
“The group is strong. Practically all the champions are in the group so its very hard. But its not a surprise to me,” added the former Real Betis defender.
“The team is focused, ready to go. The boys wanting to get a win,” said Josh Grommen. “A bit disappointed with the draw but for this game were gonna focus and we’ve been working hard in training. Everyone is putting their head down and were ready to make the next game a good fight,” he added.
The match will be played behind closed doors after consultations were done with the Philippine Football Federation and the Philippine Sports Commission. This is in line with the national and local governments efforts to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus disease.
The match will be shown live locally on One Sports channels on TV, Facebook, and YouTube and regionally on Fox Sports (1) channel.
Ceres-Negros cruised to a 4-0 victory against Bali United in the AFC Cup last Match 11 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Oj Porteria, Bienvenido Maranon, and Robert Lopez Mendy all found the back of the net for the busmen.
The match was played behind closed doors but the action was tight in the early going. Both teams tried to figure each other out with Ceres-Negros controlling possession while Bali was defending deep and looking for the counter.
It was in only in the 35th minute when the deadlock was broken after Stephan Schrock ran into space and took a shot which was parried wide but Porteria smashed home to the top corner to make it 1-0.
The busmen turned up the action in the second half and were rewarded in the 52nd when Schrock was brought down in the box. Maranon stepped up for the penalty and scored to make it 2-0. The Negros squad had plenty of opportunities to get more goals but chances from Schrock and Maranon were saved by the keeper.
The Ceres-Negros captain again was pivotal in the 69th minute when he picked Maranon off a corner which the Spaniard nodded in towards the second post and in.
Lopez Mendy had a chance to make it four but his chance in front of goal was off target. He wont be denied in the 73rd when he broke away and slotted one past Nadeo to make it 4-0.
Things got testy near the end as the visitors vented their frustrations which resulted to dirty plays which was protested but the match ended with Ceres-Negros as the runaway winners.
“Its not easy to play especially when the team is defending very deep,” said Ceres-Negros Coach Risto Vidakovic. “We started in the first half to find space, to create opportunities, but after the first goal I think they opened a little bit so we had more space to play. We created more opportunities and scored more goals.”
The win put the Philippine champions three points clear with seven points followed by Than Quang Ninh who improved to four points after an away win versus Svay Rieng. Ceres-Negros will travel next to Bali on April 14 for the away leg in Indonesia.
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
Jun 3, 2020 11:29:52 GMT 8
nil: anyone have any ADT FC's contact?
Jun 3, 2020 11:30:08 GMT 8