International club football resumes this week for the Philippines as two United Football League clubs engage in their 2016 Singapore Cup quarter-finals commitments. Global Football Club and Ceres-La Salle Football Club hope to the make the semi-finals this week, currently the farthest stage Filipino clubs have reached in the Singapore Cup.
The ties will be a two-legged affair. This week will see the first leg played. Global will take on Singaporean side Tampines Rovers on June 29, 2016 (Wednesday; 8:00PM) at the Jurong West Stadium. On the other hand, Ceres-La Salle play on June 30, 2016 (Thursday; 8:00PM) against Bruneian team Brunei DPMM FC at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Will Global return to the semi-finals?
Arguably the most successful Filipino club in the Singapore Cup is Global. Global reached the semi-finals in the 2013 and 2015 editions of the said tournament. At both times, though, they failed to get past that stage or even clinch third place.
In Global’s midst this time around is five-time S.League champions Tampines Rovers. The Rovers finished at 2nd place in the 2015 S.League and are currently at the same position this season. They also participated in the 2016 AFC Champions League, only for them to be eliminated at the preliminary round.
Tampines Rovers’ top scorer in the S.League this season has been Republic of Ireland forward Billy Mehmet with five goals. It is also important to not that this isn’t the first time the Rovers are facing a Filipino club this season. The Rovers faced reigning UFL champions Ceres-La Salle in the 2016 AFC Cup group stage where they drew 1-1 in Singapore and lost 1-2 at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
It is definitely an interesting encounter as Global and Tampines Rovers are in the top two places of their respective leagues. In fact, both teams’ current forms makes it hard to predict which team will carry an advantage with them come the second leg. Global will head into this tie with warranted confidence, though, and won’t be intimidated come game time.
Can Ceres-La Salle get past the decorated Brunei DPMM FC?
Brunei DPMM FC is one of the most unique clubs in world football. The aforementioned team was founded in the year 2000 and has already competed in three different countries. They won the former top-tier league in Brunei, the Brunei Premier League, twice in 2002 and 2004 as well as the Brunei FA Cup and Brunei Super Cup.
DPMM then joined the Malaysian football system where they finished at 3rd place in the Malaysia Premier League in the 2006-07 season which was also their first year in the said country. That 3rd place finish promoted them to the 2007-08 Malaysian Super League where they finished a respectable 10th place. That promotion was their only championship in Malaysia.
Now, though, DPMM is based in Singapore where they have competed since 2009. They finished runners-up twice in the 2012 and 2014 seasons of the S.League and eventually won 2015. Aside from the 2015 S.League title, they’ve also won the Singapore League Cup thrice (2009, 2012 and 2014). For some reason, however, they currently sit in mid-table at 5th place in the current season. Their current topscorer in the S.League is midfielder Azwan Ali Rahman who has 5 goals.
Not a lot of clubs can say they’ve competed in three different countries. That CV alone is tremendous for such a young club. Unlike Global, Ceres-La Salle can be called underdogs in this tie. Perhaps the only way Ceres-La Salle can scrape through the next round is to play safe and limit damage in the first leg then go all out in the next one. That isn’t impossible as Ceres-La Salle proved they can do exactly that against Global’s opponents, Tampines Rovers, in the 2016 AFC Cup group stage.
When and where will the next leg be played?
Global will play the second leg as the home side against Tampines Rovers on July 2, 2016 (Saturday; 8:00PM) at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Likewise, Ceres-La Salle is the home team on July 3, 2016 (Sunday; 8:00PM) against DPMM FC at the same venue.