Ceres Negros FC battles the formidable Brisbane Roar FC in the second round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League qualifying stage on Tuesday at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Center in Australia.
The Yellow Busmen clash with the Roar at 7 p.m. (5 p.m. in Manila).
Though pitted against a stronger team, Ceres Negros head coach Risto Vidakovic sees the match as a good experience for his wards.
“Brisbane is a tough team. They play a high level league, bigger level than what we have in the Philippines. So for us, it’s a test to see where we are and where we can be. We just have to enjoy the game,” said Vidakovic.
Ceres was able to arrange a knockout fixture against the Australian League powerhouse after edging out Myanmar’s Shan United FC in a penalty shootout, 4-3 (1-1 in regulation) last week.
Former Philippine Azkals star Stephan Shrock struck in the extra time before he combined forces with captain Carli de Murga, Mike Ott and Bienvenido Marañon to power the domestic league champion in the previous win.
Brisbane, meanwhile, was seeded into the second round for finishing third in the higher-ranked A-League last season.
The Aussie side will parade a talented roster that includes national squad veterans Bret Holman, Matt Mckay and Corey Gameiro along with foreign reinforcements in Italian striker Massimo Maccarone, Tunisian forward Fahid Ben Khalfallan and French midfielder Eric Bautheac.
Vidakovic knows well that Brisbane is playing deep into the season and this could work for the opposing side.
“I saw a few games and I know that they (Brisbane) are at a higher level than us. They are in the middle of the season, we are in the preseason. There’s a big difference in the intensity and everything but I hope we can compete with them,” he said.
The Serbian mentor though said that the Negrenses will give their all to move one win away from qualifying for the group stage of the top continental club competition.
“We’ll compete one hundred percent. We’ll never know, anything can happen. Football is full of surprises.”