Ceres FC begins qualification
By Adrian Stewart Co
Ceres-Negros FC begins their quest for a spot in the 2020 AFC Champions League when they face 2019 Myanmar National League champions Shan United FC in the first preliminary round of the qualifying playoffs tonight. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
“The mindset is always winning regardless if we are prepared or we were only playing together for a short time,” said Ceres FC midfielder Stephan Schröck. “I’m playing against the idea of losing.
“In the back of my mind, I want to qualify—I’m looking for history,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ceres head coach Risto Vidaković said the team will give their best.
“We are going to fight until the last minute to reach the next round,” he explained. “It’s a very hard competition but we are going to try.”
“We will give our best so I hope everyone will support us,” the coach added.
The face-off is a rematch of the 2018 qualifying playoffs, where the two also met in the first preliminary round.
Ceres won 1-1 (4-3) on penalty kicks and followed it up by defeating A-League club Brisbane Roar, 3-2, in the second preliminary round. However, in the playoff round, one step away from making the Champions League group stage, the Negrense club fell 2-0 to Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian FC.
This year, the winner next plays Port FC, who finished third in the 2019 Thai League 1, in the second preliminary round. Subsequently, the winner of that match then meets FC Tokyo, the 2019 J1 League runners-up, in the playoff round./ASC, WDJ