Ceres Negros FC squares off with its former captain Martin Steuble and Port FC of Thailand in the second stage of the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League qualifiers today at the PAT Stadium in the Thai capital of Bangkok.
Eyeing to continue its quest for history, the three-time Philippines Football League champion Yellow Busmen battle Steuble and the rest of the Thai Cup winner Port Lions at 7 p.m.
Ceres Negros advanced to the second preliminary round after squeaking past Myanmar champ Shan United FC, 3-2, last Tuesday night at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Foreign strikers Robert Lopez Mendy and Bienvenido Marañon found the back of the net in the second half before winger OJ Porteria struck the crucial third goal to help the Busmen weather the Shan Warriors’ late fightback.
Ceres head coach Risto Vidakovic lamented about his men’s lack of training time due to a lengthy layoff, but vowed to play all-out against Port.
“We are still very far from the level we want to be because it’s only three training sessions and it’s not enough,” said Vidakovic.
“We don’t know anything about Port FC yet so we have to watch some of its previous games, analyze it and see how we can face them, and how we can play the best way against them,” added the European tactician.
Senegalese striker Mendy, Spanish forward Marañon and Porteria are expected to lead the Busmen’s charge along with captain Stephan Schrock and new recruit Pika Minegishi.
On the other hand, Port FC is also coming off a long break after winning the Thai FA Cup against Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, 1-0, last November.
But the Lions remain dangerous with seasoned defender Steuble, who left Ceres last July 2019, and their recent loaned players in Brazilian striker Heberty and Thai forward Adisak Kraisorn from Muangthong United.