Ceres-Negros FC head coach Risto Vidakovic has admitted that his players will have their work cut out when they face Hanoi FC in the ASEAN Zonal Semifinal second leg of the AFC Cup 2019 on Tuesday.
The Philippines Football League side travel to the Hang Day Stadium in Vietnam to face the V.League reigning champions Hanoi after playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg held at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.
AFC Cup 2019: Ceres Negros 1-0 Hà Nội FC – Bienve Maranon (57′)
Bienvenido Maranon had given Ceres the lead in the first leg tie at 57 minutes, but Pape Omar Faye scored the equaliser for Hanoi 10 minutes later to give the Purple-Yellows the away goal advantage.
But, Vidakovic believes that the second leg will be a whole new challenge. “It will be a new game [on Tuesday] and I think everything is open like before,” said the 50-year-old Serbian.
He also said that facing the Vietnamese champions will be one of the biggest challenges his players have faced this season. “For me Hanoi is the strongest team that we played this year. But I think we are also a strong team and we will see a good fight,” he said.
Meanwhile, veteran defender Alvaro Silva said that the semifinal could go either way as he prepares to face his former side for the second time in as many weeks.
AFC Cup 2019: Ceres Negros 1-1 Hanoi FC (Pape Omar Faye 67′)
“It will be a difficult game. Like coach said it’s open. I think 50-50 and I think any of the teams can go through the final,” said the 35-year-old Philippines international centre-back.
The ASEAN Zonal Semifinal second leg between Hanoi and Ceres-Negros will kick off at 8 PM HKT. A goalless draw will do for hosts Hanoi to progress to the zonal final, while a 1-1 draw will take the game into extra time. Ceres must win by a margin of at least one goal to book a place in the final.