Myanmar's Yangon United ends Ceres Negros in Asian club tournament
BACOLOD CITY—Ceres Negros shifts its focus to the AFC Cup for the fourth straight year, after a stunning first round exit in the AFC Champions League preliminary stage on Tuesday night.
A night that started in a festive mood ended in heartbreak as the Busmen absorbed a stunning 2-1 loss to Myanmar champion Yangon United at a jampacked Panaad Stadium.
Playing in front of almost 10,000 spectators, Stephan Schrock’s spectacular goal at the stroke of halftime proved to be a consolation as the Busmen crashed out in the first phase of the most prestigious club competition in the continent.
“It’s a tough result for us, but it’s hard to play when half of the team has not played since September and half the team has been playing a lot of competitive games in the past three months with different teammates,” said Schrock.
The Busmen looked a step slower in the opening exchanges and their lack of a natural striker was exposed late on when they chased for an equalizer in the second half.
Ceres coach Risto Vidakovic admitted he may have underestimated Yangon, which the Busmen defeated over two legs in the AFC Cup zonal semifinal last year.
A 28th-minute free kick from Brazilian midfielder Vinicius Miller right at the edge of the area and sub Kaung Htet Soe’s close-range strike early in the second half boosted Yangon to a second round duel with Chiangrai United of Thailand on Tuesday.
With Bienvenido Maranon only available for a cameo role as he was hampered by a back injury, the Busmen’s attack didn’t look as potent as it used to be, although OJ Porteria’s volley rattled the crossbar in the second half.
A moment of brilliance from Schrock in the 44th minute gave the Ceres faithful a ray of hope heading into halftime. But while the Busmen had plenty of ball, they struggled to carve open a compact Yangon defense.
The loss relegated the Busmen to the AFC Cup, where they will face Becamex Binh Duong of Vietnam, Persija Jakarta of Indonesia and Shan United of Myanmar.