Ceres XI shoots for max points vs Hanoi
BACOLOD CITY—Filipino side Ceres-Negros faces the first of two must-win matches in its bid to advance to the knockout phase of the AFC Cup on Wednesday at Panaad Stadium here.
Picking up just a single point in their last two matches after a draw and a loss to Felda United of Malaysia, the Busmen now need maximum points against Vietnamese champion Hanoi FC in their 7:30 p.m. clash.
“If we lose, we have no chance,” said Ceres-Negros coach Risto Vidakovic. “We have to fight for 90 minutes.”
The two squads battled to a 1-1 stalemate two months ago in Hanoi with Spanish striker Bienvenido Maranon scoring for the Busmen. But after banging in two goals in the 5-0 thrashing of Tampines Rovers, Maranon has struggled to make an impact in the last two games.
The Busmen got a boost with their first choice midfield partnership back for the clash against Hanoi. Manny Ott will return from suspension and Kevin Ingreso from a hamstring problem.
Hanoi, which has Fil-Spanish defender Alvaro Silva in its squad, still leads Group F with eight points ahead of Ceres and Felda with five points each. Tampines, which Ceres plays on May 3 in Singapore, is in last place with three points. Only the top team in the group is guaranteed of an Asean zonal semifinal slot.
“We have to play with urgency,” said Ceres winger Iain Ramsay.
Over in Yangon, Myanmar, Global battles Magwe at Thuwanna Stadium on Wednesday with a win all but sealing a place in the next round.
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