MANILA – Today is testament day for Philippines Football League (PFL) champions Ceres- Negros F.C for a slot in the 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League against Shan United of Myanmar in stage 1 of the preliminary rounds at 7:30 p.m. in Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Ceres is in a must-win situation just like its opponent to progress to the next round against Thailand FA Cup champions Port F.C. in Bangkok, Thailand on Jan.21.
The winner of the second preliminary match will then advance to the play-off round against J. League’s FC Tokyo on Jan. 28, where the play-off victors will earn a slot in Group F alongside South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai, China’s Shanghai Shenhua, and Australia’s Perth Glory.
Last year, Ceres -Negros shocked the football world after they dispatched Australia’s Brisbane Roar (3-2) in Stage 2 of the qualifiers before they fell to China’s Tianjin Quanjian in the play-off round.
“We are going to fight until the last minute to reach the next round. It’s a very hard competition. But we are going to try. We will give our best so I hope everyone will support us,” said Ceres Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic.
However, if the Negros-based football club fails to win matches in the group stage of the Champions League, they will continue their campaign in the AFC Cup, grouping with Than Quang Ning of Vietnam and Indonesian champions Bali United.
“The mindset is always winning regardless if we are prepared or we were only playing together for a short time. I’m playing against the idea of losing. In the back of my mind, I want to qualify. I’m looking for history.” countered by Ceres and Philippine football international Stephan Schröck./PN