By Adrian Stewart Co
Three-time Philippines Football League champions Ceres-Negros FC open their 2020 AFC Cup campaign tonight against 2019 Cambodian League champions Svay Rieng with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Despite earlier crashing out of the 2020 AFC Champions League with a 2-0 loss to FC Tokyo in the qualifying playoff round, Ceres midfielder Bienvenido Marañon said he is confident they will perform better.
“The AFC Cup is our favorite competition and we are ready and focused to make a great run this year,” he said. “The experience we had in the Champions League was good because it helped us gain confidence, get fit, and recover the winning spirit that we had before.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Manuel Ott, who recently announced his return to the Negrense outfit following a stint with Thai League 1 club Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, reiterated his excitement to return to the AFC Cup.
“I’ve missed competing in the AFC Cup,” Ott said. “There’s a lot of pride and honor in playing in continental competition with Ceres-Negros.”
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” he added.
For Svay Rieng head coach Conor Nestor, he called the match “one of the biggest tests of our professional career.”
Also drawn in Group G alongside Ceres and Svay Rieng are Than Quang Ninh, who finished third in Vietnam’s V.League 1, and 2019 Liga 1 winners Bali United./ASC, WDJ