• Ceres battles Home United in AFC Cup zonal finals


    Ceres Negros FC takes another shot at history when it begins its Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Asean zonal finals campaign against Home United FC on Wednesday at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

    The Yellow Busmen and the Protectors tangle in the first leg of the zonal finals at 7 p.m.

    Ceres Negros wrote history two months ago when it became the first Filipino football club to enter the finals after beating defending champion Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) by virtue of away goals.

    Bienvenido Marañon of Ceres Negros FC (left) and Stipe Plazibat of Home United FC. PHOTO FROM AFC WEBSITE

    After losing 2-3 to JDT in the first leg of the semifinals at the Larkin Stadium in Johor, Malaysia, Ceres tamed the Southern Tigers, 2-1, in the second leg at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

    Home United, meanwhile, denied Global Cebu FC of making the finals an all-Filipino affair with a 5-4 aggregate win in the other semifinal pairing.

    The Singaporean squad held Global Cebu to a 2-2 draw in the first leg at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila then notched a 3-2 victory on its home turf at the Jalan Besar pitch.

    Ceres and Home are expected to bank on their spitfire strikers Bienvenido Marañon and Stipe Plazibat, respectively.

    The Spanish striker Marañon leads all scorers in the zone with eight goals while Croatian forward Plazibat has seven goals, which include crucial scores in the semifinals.

    The two main men look forward to the notable match-up of their respective clubs.

    “I can’t wait for the game to get here. It’s the most important game that I will play in during my two years wearing the Ceres shirt,” said Marañon.

    “I’m excited, motivated and can’t wait to get out on the pitch,” said Plazibat.

    Following the first leg, Ceres will head back to the Panaad football field to host Home in the second leg on August 9.


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