Ceres, Kaya take on AFC foes | Inquirer Sports

Ceres, Kaya take on AFC foes

Bacolod astir in feverish anticipation of key match
By: - Reporter / @cedelfptINQ
/ 01:09 AM February 23, 2016
Stephan Schrock (fifth from left) says reigning UFL champion Ceres-La Salle needs to perform “more than 100 percent” to beat Malaysia’s No.1 side, Selangor.

Stephan Schrock (fifth from left) says reigning UFL champion Ceres-La Salle needs to perform “more than 100 percent” to beat Malaysia’s No.1 side, Selangor.

BACOLOD—Filipino clubs Ceres-La Salle and Kaya face tough odds as they make their much-anticipated AFC Cup debut in different cities Tuesday night.

Ceres, the reigning United Football League champion, hosts Malaysian powerhouse Selangor in the first AFC Cup match that will be played at Panaad Stadium here while Kaya starts its away campaign  against Hong Kong titleholder Kitchee at Mong Kok Stadium in Kowloon.

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It marks the first time two Filipino clubs are playing in the group stage, making it another milestone for football in the country.

Excitement is at an all-time high in this bustling city with streamers announcing the match all over town and tickets reportedly selling out as early as yesterday.

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Having missed out on the main draw after losing to Maldives side Maziya in a playoff last year, Ceres is determined to make an impact as it opens its bid against the reigning Malaysian Cup winners.

“We’re very excited about this game,” said Ceres owner Leorey Yanson. “We are proud to represent the Philippines in this competition and we’re very happy that we were able to bring this prestigious tournament to our football-loving province.”

Ceres earned an outright ticket to the group stage after winning the UFL league in runaway fashion last season.

Kaya bagged the UFL Cup to become the second PH side in this year’s tournament. But a stern test awaits them against a Kitchee side that has become a regular in the continental competition.

“All the teams in our group are tough, especially Kitchee,” said Kaya manager Paul Tolentino.

Ceres new signing Stephan Schrock is also thrilled at the prospect of playing his first AFC Cup game at home.

“It’s my first home game and I hope it’s going to be a successful one,” said Schrock, who has scored five goals in Ceres’ first three matches in the UFL Cup.

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“We prepared very long, very hard for this game. It’s going to be tough game because Selangor is one of the big clubs in Southeast Asia. We have to give more than 100 percent.”

Selangor captain Mohd Shahrom Kalam said picking up at least a point against Ceres will prove crucial to clinching one of the top two spots in Group E.

“Every team in this group is a champion team, so it’s important we stay disciplined, especially when you are playing in an away game,” said Hassan.

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TAGS: afc cup, Ceres-La Salle, Football, Kaya, Selangor, UFL
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