Ceres-Negros FC head coach Risto Vidakovic (2nd from right) and striker Bienvenido Marañon (right) meet Persija Jakarta assistant coach Mustaqim (2nd from left) and forward Heri Susanto in a pre-match press conference held at Luxur Place on Tuesday afternoon ahead of their 2019 AFC Cup Group G match on Wednesday night at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City. (Photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)
BACOLOD CITY -- Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines is looking for a third straight victory as it faces Indonesia’s Persija Jakarta in the Group G match of the 2019 AFC Cup at the Panaad Park and Stadium here on Wednesday night.
A win against the Liga 1 champions will secure the Busmen’s lead in the group, which also includes Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong and Myanmar’s Shan United.
Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic said keeping the top spot is a motivation for the team to win against Persija Jakarta, which is also vying for the number one position.
“They are also fighting to be on top so it’s a crucial game. It’s a big game, I’m sure both teams will fight to win,” he said during the pre-match press briefing held at Luxur Place on Tuesday afternoon.
The Philippine national league champions earned six points after two wins over Shan United and Becamex Binh Duong while the visitors racked up four points with a win and a draw against the same teams, respectively.
Spanish striker Bienvenido Marañon, who will most likely be the focus of the Indonesian defense, said Persija Jakarta is a good team, but he is confident in taking them on after winning two matches and facing them in a home game.
“For me, there is no pressure. When we play against a very good team like Persija Jakarta, we just enjoy it. We just have to be 100 percent (focused). Nothing less,” he added.
Persija Jakarta assistant coach Mustaqim said they have to be tough to win against Ceres-Negros.
“We will bring in the best players, without injuries. We will also bring in the legendary striker of the national team (Bambang) Pamungkas, and hope we get the three points,” he added.
Brazilian forward Bruno Matos, who scored twice as Persija came from a goal down to beat Myanmar’s Shan United, 3-1, is also a player to watch.
However, Vidakovic said they instead “have to worry about the team, not about one player.”
“We will play to take the ball from them and to keep the ball for us,” the Serbian mentor added. (PNA)