Ceres Negros visit Felda United with everything to play for in the race for qualification from Group G to the knockout stage of AFC Cup.
Felda United to face the visiting side with optimism
A well-deserved draw in Panaad Park and Stadium against the group leaders, that could easily have been a win if not for a saved penalty, will give motivation to Felda for Tuesday’s meeting. With a performance that exposed their supposedly stronger hosts, “The Fighters” will take optimism into their second encounter at the Shah Alam Stadium. Also, in spite of Felda occupying last place, just three points separate all the teams in Group G and gives them a good chance to qualify should they win.
Ceres Negros will be wary
The visitors will be ready for a tricky encounter against a dangerous team after Felda’s display in the first game. With their opponents having dangerous players capable of creating goal-scoring opportunities in a flash, Ceres will need to approach the game in a more cautious manner. The defence will have to work more as a unit in order for a chance to get a positive result in conditions that will favour the home team.
Players to watch
Zah Krangar – The Liberian midfielder produced some great forays into the opponent’s half in the Philippines and posed a real threat. He could be the much needed spark for his team as they chase a first win at home.
Lucas Cano – A forgettable performance from the Argentine striker in Panaad, highlighted by a poor penalty kick that was saved. This match provides a platform for him to redeem himself on home turf.
Norshahrul – The Malaysian forward’s contribution to the attack in the first game was notable as his energy helped Felda dominate the game for large parts of the match. He also won the penalty with a skilful run into the box. More of the same could help Felda on Tuesday.
Roland Müller – The Filipino-German keeper’s stellar performance in Bacolod helped keep a clean sheet and his side at the top of the table. Will need another big performance as they travel to hosts desperate for a win.
Bienvenido Marañon – Will the Spanish striker be able to regain his goal-scoring touch as he tries to help his side win and solidify their lead in Group G? Possessing explosive pace and a lethal touch in the box, his contributions in attack will be critical.
The entire Ceres backline – The whole defensive backline will need to be more alert this time as their hosts will be expected to be more enterprising in attack.
What to expect
Felda will be more aggressive this time as the home team and will be confident given the performance in Panaad. However, Ceres still has the upper-hand on paper provided the wealth of current and ex-national team members that comprise their squad.
Felda will still be dangerous on the counterattack as they continue to seek gaps in the Ceres defence while Ceres will need to face this fixture with a bit more caution and discipline.