In a bid to keep their AFC Cup campaign alive, Ceres Negros FC face Hanoi FC in a crucial group G match tonight at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod, Negros Occidental.
The Negros side suffered a painful 3-0 defeat at the hands of Malaysian side Felda United last week, and are now in a dangerous situation of missing a spot to the zonal semifinals.
Ceres currently sit in third place, level on points with Felda at five points, but the Malaysian side have a better head-to-head record. Only the group winner and the best second placed team at the end of the group stage will advance to the next round. Hanoi, on the other hand, have eight points because of two wins and two draws.
One of those draws came at the hands of Ceres when the two teams met in a 1-1 draw last February 21. Bienvenido Maranon sent the Negros side ahead in the 49th minute but that was cancelled out by Nguyen van Quyet eight minutes later.
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic expects his team to bounce back after the shock defeat against Felda. Manny Ott returns to the squad after serving his suspension. However, Martin Steuble will miss the match after accumulating two yellow cards.
“My expectations from the players is that they give their 100 percent,” said Vidakovic. “There are no other options. We have to win the game if we want to advance. I just want the team to compete for 90 minutes and try to reach the result we need.”
Iain Ramsay echoed his coach’s statements and is keen for redemption and to stay in the tournament. The midfielder had not seen the back of the net since his 30-second opener against Tampines Rovers last March 3.
“We only want to make amends for that result,” said Ramsay. “We drew them away from home last time. We’ll give everything against Hanoi.”
Kick off for the match is at 7:30 PM and it will be shown live on Fox Sports 2. — CAL