MANILA, Philippines – Ceres-Negros FC's clash with Singapore's Home United FC on Wednesday, April 25, at Pana-ad Park and Stadium will decide on the seedings of the teams in the knockout phase.
The Bacolod-based team stands on top of Group F with 13 points from 4 wins and one draw. Based on the results of the Group H matches on Tuesday, April 24, the 4-2 win by Persija over Tampines Rovers gave the Indonesian team a spot in the ASEAN zonal semis.
"We're playing because we want to make history. We have the opportunity to make an excellent finish on the group stage and be on top of the group," said Ceres head coach Risto Vidakovic.
However, the Busmen are not settling for just a draw. They want to earn 3 points on Wednesday's game to impress the home crowd that has supported them all the way. (READ: Bacolod rekindles its love affair with Ceres Negros)
"If we have a full stadium and If our crowd is there supporting us, it's enough motivation to give them a good result," said Vidakovic.
"The crowd in Panaad has always been a 12th man for us, so we're looking forward for the game and we are happy to represent you [Bacolod]," added Ceres midfielder Stephan Schrock.
Wednesday's game will mark the 4th time the Busmen have faced the Singaporeans.
In the 2017 AFC Cup, Ceres faced Home United in the two-legged ASEAN Zonal finals. The Bacolod-based squad advanced to the Inter-zone play-off semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate score and was crowned ASEAN champions at the expense of Home United.
In this year's edition of the AFC Cup, both teams are grouped together in Group F. Home United held Ceres to its only draw so far in the tournament, 1-1, in their first matchup in Singapore.
Despite being familiar with each other's style of play, the Busmen are still gearing up for the challenge that Home United will give them.
"We know each other, we played each other 3 [times]. We know how they play and we want to have a good result and give happiness to our home crowd tomorrow," said Vidakovic.
"For us it's a challenge to have a historic group stage [run] and to win the group against an excellent opponent." – Rappler.com
*Editor's note: Scenarios were updated based on the results of the Group H games.
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.