For Ceres-Negros FC head coach Risto Vidakovic, the only way for his team to stay on top in Group F of the AFC Cup and qualify to the next round is to win against Shan United of Myanmar at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City tonight.
At yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Vidakovic made it clear that the 9-0 home win against Cambodia’s Boeung Ket last month and the frustrating 1-1 draw against Home United in Singapore seven days ago are all behind them.
He would like everyone to remember that Shan United scored a goal against Ceres in their Jan. 16 match in the Champions League before the busmen got away on penalties.
“They are tough and they had one goal against us. Our players need to give everything like they always do while playing at home. There’s no other way if we want to win,” Vidakovic said.
Equally prepared to play their best against the home team, Shan United head coach Soe Myat Min said they are aware of how strong Ceres is.
“They are currently leading the group and they have a lot of quality players. It will be a very difficult match for us but we will try to get the three points,” Myat Min said.
And if Ceres has the dynamic duo of Bienve Marañon and Takumi Uesato, who each scored a brace in the 9-0 demolition of Boeung Ket three weeks ago, Shan United has Nigerian striker Christopher Chizoba and 23-year-old Ghanian footballer Patrick Asare who can create problems for Ceres’ keeper Toni Doblas.
Shan United’s goalkeeper Thiha Si Thu will also be there to tame Ceres’ attacks.
“Ceres is a strong team and we need to turn our chances into goals. As goalkeeper my task is control the attacking players,” Si Thu said in the press conference yesterday.
Going into today’s Matchday 3, Ceres and Home United are tied on top with 4 points while Shan United, who lost to the Singaporean team in the opener, 0-1, has 3 points following last week’s win against Boeung Ket FC.
With only the No. 1 team getting the chance to advance to the zonals, each of the remaining matches is important, Vidakovic said.
“Every point is important especially when we are playing at home,” he said.*NAB
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