Home United vs Ceres Negros: Key battles

Singapore’s Home United take on Ceres Negros of the Philippines on Wednesday evening in the first leg of the AFC Cup zonal final.

The match will take place at Singapore’s Jalan Besar Stadium with Home looking to take an advantage to the Philippines ahead of the second leg on Aug 9.

Some of the top footballing talent in the region will be on show in what is expected to be a keenly fought contest.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the key players for both sides and how their individual battles could play out.

Irfan Fandi vs Bienvenido Maranon

Home’s young defender will have his hands full as he tries to stop Ceres’ Spanish goal machine. Maranon is the reason Ceres have advanced so far in the tournament as his deadly finishing and ability to pop up in the box at the crucial time have seen him plunder eight goals so far in the tournament. Irfan, 19, suffered concussion and memory loss last week after a domestic game, but is likely to be risked as despite his tender years he is a giant presence at the back for Home. Whether he has fully recovered is likely to have a big say in his ability to contain the dangerous Maranon and in the result of this tie.

Faris Ramli vs Manuel Lopez

Stipe Plazibat may grab all the headlines for Home thanks to his goalscoring exploits, but Faris is equally important to coach Aidil Sharin’s philosophy of all-out attack. Faris drifts across the front line, providing chances for Plazibat and co with a range of deft flicks and short dribbles, but he also has the pace to cause trouble when running behind defences and is a reliable finisher. Lopez and his defensive colleagues will need to keep a tight watch on Faris in order to stifle the Home attack, but also be careful not to get dragged out of position and leave space for others to exploit.

Hariss Harun vs Stephan Schrock

The availability of Hariss is a boost for Home as his experience of winning the tournament with JDT will prove invaluable. A great screen for the back four, Hariss will be required to break up Ceres attacks as former Bundesliga players Schrock and Manny Ott like to play short passes and dribble through the middle. Hariss’ passing skills will also come into play as he will be required to instigate attacks on the breakdown. The Singapore international will need to keep his cool as Schrock can be an abrasive, niggly character who often tries to rattle opponents with robust challenges.

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