Against one of the most successful clubs in Thailand’s history, Ceres-Negros Football Club showed that not even an illustrious opponent can impede their quest to join Asian football’s premier competition for the first time in Philippine football history.
Risto Vidakovic’s men fought tooth and nail to secure a narrow 1-0 victory over Port FC of Thailand, Tuesday night, at the PAT Stadium in Bangkok in the second preliminary round of the 2020 AFC Champions League.
After a goalless first half, Ceres skipper Stephan Schrock found a way to break the deadlock in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Receiving the ball from the corner, the Filipino-German midfielder produced a cross from the right flank, which Port goalkeeper Worawut Srisupa parried into his own net in the 51st minute.
The unexpected breakthrough gave the Bacolod-based side something to hold on to, as the opposition mounted chance after chance to draw level. Substitute forward Adisak Kraisorn and Sergio Gustavo Arteaga had their sniffs at goal, but neither were able to score past Ceres goalie Roland Muller.
In front of over 6,000 fans, Port tried and tried to find an equalizer but Ceres’ valiant defending prevailed. Port midfielder Ko Seulki shot wide; meanwhile, Ceres stalwart Takeshi Odawara cleared off Adisak’s attempt. The Busmen ultimately found a way to cross the finish line.
Ceres’ reward is an away date in the playoff round against FC Tokyo at the Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo, on January 28, 2020, with kickoff time stated to be 6:00 PM Philippine time.
Ceres Negros XI: Muller (GK), Kane, Super, Ott, Maranon, Odawara, Porteria, Schrock ©, Villanueva, Minegishi, Lopez Mendy.
Port XI: E. Dolah, S. Suarez, Pakorn, Seul Ki, Bordin, Siwakorn ©, Deeromram, Selanon, W. Srisupa (GK), Heberty, Tanaboon.