MANILA – Captain Stephan Schröck drained the go-ahead hit as the Ceres-Negros F.C pulled off a 1-0 upset over fancied Port F.C of Thailand in the Preliminary Round 2 of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League on Jan. 21 at the PAT Stadium in Bangkok.
Schröck caught Port’s goalkeeper Worawut Srisupa napping before converting the lone goal of the match from a cross at the 51st minute mark.
Following the conversion, the Busmen nearly doubled the advantage with an attempt from newcomer Hikaru Minegishi, but Worawut’s keeping reflex denied the winger.
Port F.C. owned most of the ball possession in the opening half, but they were unable to penetrate through the “big buses” of Ceres-Negros. Bienvenido Marañon and Mike Ott were close to surging their team ahead but were well defended as well.
With the victory, Ceres-Negros advances to the play-off round against J. League’s F.C. Tokyo on Jan. 28 at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan with the victors of the matchup earning a spot in Group F alongside South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai, China’s Shanghai Shenhua, and Australia’s Perth Glory.
This marks the second time that Ceres-Negros has reached the 2nd Round of the competition after doing it two years ago when they defeated Myanmar’s Shan United and Australia’s Brisbane Roar before falling short against Tianjin Quanjin of China.
If Ceres-Negros fails to make it to the group stage of the AFC Champions League, they will continue their continental campaign in Group G of the AFC Cup where they will match up with Than Quang Ning of Vietnam and Indonesian champs in Bali United.
If Ceres-Negros fails to upset F.C. Tokyo, they will continue their continental campaign in Group G of the AFC Cup with Than Quang Ning of Vietnam and Indonesian champs in Bali United./PN