Ceres v. Yangon United
This game officially kicks off the start of the Asian Champions League First Preliminary Round. The winner of this round will advance to the Second Preliminary Round where their opponent is already determined (Chiangrai United). A 2009 reformation linked the AFC Cup to the AFC Champions League in a similar manner as the Europa League and the UEFA Champions League.
Ceres-Negros is a newly established club (2012) currently playing in the Philippine Football League (which will become the Philippine Premier League in 2019). From their inception until the disbanding of the United (Philippine) Football League, they were a member of the various divisions within that league winning their first top-flight title in only their third season in existence (2015).
Despite the short existence of this particular top-flight domestic division, Ceres has won all the honors. In 2017, top-division had eight teams competing for the title across throughout a regular season consisting of 2 home and two away games against each of the seven other teams in the league. This year, the division lost two teams but maintained a 25-game schedule. Ceres won their second consecutive top-flight title in a row. They have been far and away the best team in the League this season, having scored the most goals while simultaneously allowing the fewest.
Ceres made three straight appearances in the AFC Cup representing the Philippines. In the first two years (2015, 2016) they advanced to the round of 16. In the final year (2017) they made it to the overall quarterfinals of the AFC. So far this season at home, Ceres has played 11 games with eight wins and three losses. In that period, at home, they have scored, on average, 3.5 goals per game and conceded just over 1.1 goals per game.
Yangon United, located in Myanmar, is one of the eight founding members of the Myanmar National League in 2009 and were also founded the same year. The competition has since expanded to twelve teams and has instituted a second division.
In the Myanmar National League, the race has been for second place to Yangon who has won the League on five occasions. Also, they have finished as runners up an additional three times. Yangon won their first league title in 2011, a mere two years after their founding. Since that time, they have managed either a first- or a second-placed finish in each year after that. The 2017-2018 season saw them win their 5th title and qualify for the AFC Champions League, where they finished a mere point ahead of Shan United, despite scoring an additional 20 goals.
Yangon United has played in either the AFC Cup or the AFC Champions League competition each year since 2012 but will be making only their second appearance in the AFC Champions League. They have reached the round of 16 on three occasions in the AFC Cup but have never made it past the preliminary rounds in the Champions League. In the AFC Champions League Qualifying season, they played 12 away games averaging a little over two goals scored per match and allowing just over 0.9 goals per match.
What to expect
Both of these clubs are trying to get past the Preliminary Stages for the first time in their (relatively) short histories! They are both very free-scoring teams so I expect to see nothing less than a bunch of goals scored in this one. Both teams need to make sure they stay focused on this task and not look forward to next week. The bookies are favoring Ceres, most likely because of their prolific goal scoring record. I worry a little that Yangon won’t be able to score enough goals to keep up, but I am looking forward to a great game in just a few short days!
Last Updated: January 27, 2019