Ceres moves on from AFC defeat
SINGAPORE—The end of its reign in the AFC Cup Asean zone last Wednesday night may sting for awhile, but Ceres-Negros will be taking plenty of positives back home as it regroups and lays the foundation for another shot at history in continental competitions next year.
The Busmen suffered a 0-2 defeat to Singapore’s Home United in the second leg of their zonal final tie at Jalan Besar Stadium, denying the Filipino champions of back-to-back titles.
Goals from Shakir Hamzah and Song Ui-young in the second half put away the Busmen, who missed brothers Manny and Mike Ott and Bienvenido Marañon in their most important game of the season.
“Maybe we came a little bit short with players in this game,” Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic said. “Maybe we became a little bit tired. But I’m happy with all the [year’s efforts]. I’m proud of my players. They fought until the end. Sometimes you just have to shake the hands of your opponents and say ‘you played better.’”
Ceres’ season started Jan. 16 when they played in the AFC Champions League qualifying rounds—a campaign highlighted by a stunning upset of Brisbane Roar of Australia.
With the Philippines Football League title already in the bag as well as qualification to the AFC Champions League playoffs, Vidakovic is now setting his sights on building his team up for another run next season.
“We hope to have more time to prepare next year,” Vidakovic said.
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