Stephan Schrock (2nd from left) scores Ceres-Negros’ lone goal against Yangon United’s two in Tuesday night’s AFC Champions League 2019 Preliminary Stage 1 qualifiers at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City. (Photo courtesy of ceresfootball.com)
BACOLOD CITY -- Ceres-Negros of the Philippines will resume its quest for the AFC Cup title on February 26 after bowing out of the Preliminary Stage 1 qualifiers of the AFC Champions League 2019 here Tuesday night.
Myanmar’s Yangon United defeated Ceres-Negros, 2-1 before a crowd of 7,000 in Panaad Stadium to end the Filipino team’s bid to enter the next stage of Asia’s premier club football tournament in its second appearance in two years.
The Lions scored the opening goal in the 27th minute by Brazilian midfielder Vinicius Miller, who was named “Man of the Match”.
Before the first half ended, Stephan Schrock delivered an equalizer in the 44th minute, but Ceres-Negros never recovered after Kaung Htet Soe hit the back of the net in the 59th.
Yangon United head coach Myo Min Tun lauded his team’s winning performance as he acknowledged Ceres-Negros as a worthy opponent.
“I congratulate Ceres, they played very well. For us, our players, from the first minute to the last minute, have full concentration, aggressive play, fighting spirit, everything,” Tun said during the post-match press conference.
Ceres-Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic admitted that they “underestimated” Yangon United, which they defeated in the ASEAN Zone semi-finals of the AFC Cup 2018.
“We couldn’t find the way to play, to keep the ball, to get opportunities. I think we underestimated them a little bit. We were expecting a different team,” he said.
The Serbian mentor noted that from the start, the game was very uncomfortable for Ceres-Negros, which played as a team for the first time in more than four months after the 2018 Copa Paulino Alcantara.
“Our last game was in September, but that is not an excuse for our loss,” he said.
In the AFC Champions League 2018, Ceres-Negros defeated Burmese club Shan United and scored an upset win against Australia’s Brisbane Roar, but failed to advance to the group stage after bowing to Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.
After Tuesday’s loss to Yangon United, the Philippines Football League champions, last year’s ASEAN Zone runner-up, have been relegated anew to the AFC Cup 2019, where they are drawn in Group G with Vietnam’s Becamex Bin Duong, Myanmar’s Shan United, and Indonesia’s first or third club. (PNA)