Getting to know Ceres-Negros

Brisbane begin their 5th AFC Champions League campaign on Tuesday night with their Preliminary Round 2 clash against Filipino side Ceres-Negros at the Queensland Sports & Athletics Centre (QSAC).

As we’ve done over the years, lets find out a little bit more about Brisbane’s opponent.

How they qualified?
Ceres-Negros qualified for the 2018 AFC Champions League as winners of the 2017 Philippines Football League, where they finished second in the league before beating Global FC in the finals series to claim the title.

In order to progress to Preliminary Round 2 of ACL qualifying, Ceres-Negros defeated Myanmar Champions Shan United on Tuesday night on penalties after the tie finished 1-1 after 120 minutes.

AFC Preliminary Round 1
Shan United (1)  Asare 99′
Ceres-Negros (1) Nyakwe 94′
Ceres-Negros progress 4-3 on penalty kicks.

As a bit of extra information, this was the Ceres-Negros starting line-up for the clash, playing in what looks to be a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Line-up v Shan United
1- Antonio Santana (GK), 4- Manuel Lopez (DF), 14- Carlos de Murga (DF), 17- Junior Munoz (DF), 28- Jeffrey Christiaens, 6- Kevin Ingreso (MF), 7) Bienvenido Maranon (MF), Omid Nazari (MF), 5) Mike Ott (MF), 12) Stephan Schrock (MF), 29) Patrick Reichelt (FW)

Ceres-Negros was formed in 2012 and has quickly gone on to make a name for themselves as a club in the Filipino footballing scene. Starting out as a team composed mostly of College players, Ceres-Negros quickly built their reputation and started to attract national team players to the club.

In 2017, no less than 11 Ceres-Negros players represented the national side.

Philippine Football League Champions- (2017)
United Football League Champions (2014, 2015)
PFF National Men’s Club Championship winners (2013, 2014)
UFL FA League Cup Winner (2014)

Record in Asia
2018 is Ceres- Negros’ first appearance in the AFC Champions League.

They do however have an extensive history of participating in the AFC’s secondary club competitions, beginning with the 2014 AFC Presidents Cup where they finished 3rd in Group B.

Three consecutive appearances in the AFC Cup were to follow, with a qualifying loss to Maldive side Maziya in 2015, before reaching the last 16 a year late. In 2017 Ceres-Negros made it to the Inter-zone Semi-Final before losing 5-1 on aggregate to Tajikistan side Istiklol.

Manager- Risto Vidakovic
Ceres-Negros are lead by former Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro international, who joined the Filipino Champions ahead of the 2016 season. As a player Vidakovic spent the majority of his career playing in Spain for the likes of Real Betis, Osasuna and Poli Ejido and it was in Spain where he got his first coaching opportunity with Ecija.

Stints with Cadiz and the Real Betis B team were to follow, before a move across the world beckoned to Honduran club Motagua.

Notable players
Antonio Santana
37 year old Spanish goalkeeper
177 games in Spain for Real Betis, Real  Zaragoza, Huesca and Xerez
Spent 2017 season with San Fernando in Segunda Division B

Bienvenido Maranon
31 year old Spanish winger
Played in Spain for Cadiz, Villarrubia, Mostoles, La Hoya Lorca and Soucellamos
15 goals in 47 games for Ceres- Negros

Mike Ott
22 year old German born midfielder
77 games for 1860 Munich II and FC Nurnberg II
Spent 2017 playing for Angthong in Thailand (7 goals in 21 games)
12 caps for Phillippines
Brother Manuel Ott also plays for Ceres Negros


Previewing Brisbane’s 2018 Champions League squad


As Brisbane’s A-League season continues to flounder, attention will shortly turn towards the Preliminary Rounds of the 2018 AFC Champions League, with round one qualification set to start next week.

Brisbane enter the competition in Preliminary Round two with a home clash against Filipino side Cereos-Negros or Shan United from Myanmar on January 23, before a potential trip to Tianjin Quanjian on January 30th.

With the competition set to get underway in the coming days, decisions will soon need to be made on which players will be eligible to participate in the competition. As a reminder, clubs can register a maximum of 30 players for the competition, with a maximum of four visa players of which one must be from an AFC member nation.

While the squad can be altered after the qualification round if required – Brisbane brought in Avram Papadopoulos following the playoff round last year- it’s unlikely that there will be many changes.

As a comparison to what we can expect, here’s a reminder of which players were selected for the 2017 competition.

In order to breakdown who could be part of the Champions League side, things can be broken down into four categories- A-League contracted players, Scholarship players and Mature aged rookies, ACL specific signings and Youth team players.

A-League contracted players
Eric Bautheac, Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Daniel Bowles, Shannon Brady, Corey Brown, Joey Caletti, Nick D’Agostino, Luke Devere, Ivan Franjic, Corey Gameiro, Jack Hingert, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Massimo Maccarone, Matt McKay, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Mitchell Oxborrow, Avram Papadopoulos, Jacob Pepper, Peter Skapetis, Michael Theo, Jamie Young.

Brisbane have a full 23 player A-League squad right now, all of whom have featured at some point over the season to date due to the continuing injury crisis. The 18 Australian players on that list are locks to be included in the ACL squad, however due to the Champions League rules surrounding visa players one of the clubs four international players will miss out.

As a reminder teams in the Champions League are allowed a maximum of four Visa players to be registered, of which one must be from a fellow AFC member nation meaning one of Massimo Maccarone –Italy-, Fahid Ben Khalfallah –Tunisia-, Eric Bautheac –France- or Thomas Kristensen –Denmark- will miss out.

Visa decision
With options limited upfront and in the midfield it would be unlikely that Kristensen or Maccarone would be left out, meaning that one of Ben Khalfallah or Bautheac look like being the unlucky man. The decision is likely to come down to the fitness of Bautheac with the Frenchman only just returning for a hamstring injury which saw him miss four matches.

It could be either of them, but for the sake of this exercise lets assume that John Aloisi opts to carry Bautheac, Kristensen and Maccarone for the ACL squad and leave Ben Khalfallah to focus on the A-League campaign.

Scholarship holders and mature aged rookies

Scholarship players– Jay Barnett, Bryce Bafford, Dane Ingham, Emilio Martinez.
Mature Aged Rookie– Brendan White

Brendan White is a near lock to be selected as the third choice goalkeeper, as is full-back Dane Ingham who has gone on to establish himself both as a first team player since making his debut against Global FC .

Young midfielder Bryce Bafford has put in a string of impressive performances in the National Youth League and could be an outside the box inclusion for experience, while Martinez missed most of the season with a knee injury.

ACL specific signings
If Brisbane are looking for extra depth for Champions League it’s possible to bring players in purely for the competition as the likes of Adelaide and Western Sydney have done in the past.

Given the number of contracted players at the Roar at the present time it’s unlikely that Brisbane would go down this path, particularly with no guarantees of qualifying for the Group Stage. It’s an option however and one that shouldn’t be ruled out.

Youth Team Players Rounding out the squad are likely to be a handful of the clubs youth team players, many of who have already been given a taste of A-League action this season. The likes of Rahmat Akbari, Daniel Leck and Adam Sawyer have all made their debuts this season while Aaron Reardon was in the squad for Brisbane’s FFA Cup Round of 32 loss to Victory.

Likely Brisbane Roar 2018 AFC Champions League Squad Goalkeepers (3) – Michael Theo, Brendan White, Jamie Young.

Defenders (10) – Daniel Bowles, Corey Brown, Luke Devere, Ivan Franjic, Jack Hingert, Dane Ingham, Jade North, Connor O’Toole, Avram Papadopoulos, Aaron Reardon.

Midfielders (8) Rahmat Akbari, Joe Caletti, Brett Holman, Thomas Kristensen, Matt McKay, Mitchell Oxborrow, Jacob Pepper, Adam Sawyer.

Forwards (7) – Eric Bautheac, Shannon Brady, Nick D’Agostino, Corey Gameiro, Daniel Leck, Massimo Maccarone, Peter Skapetis.

Brisbane’s ACL qualification path unveiled


(2018 AFC Group Stage draw)

Brisbane’s road to the 2018 AFC Champions League Group Stage was confirmed earlier tonight with the Roar set to play two playoff games in order to qualify for the Group Stage, a path which mirrors that of 2017.

Brisbane will enter the qualification phase in round two, with a home game against the winner of the Preliminary Round one clash between Myanmar Champions Shan United and a the yet to be confirmed 2017 Filipino Champions.

That fixture will reportedly be played at QSAC on January 23, which falls between a home game with Perth Glory (Jan 18) and a trip to Central Coast Mariners (Jan 27).

Should Brisbane progress past the Preliminary Round two they will face a trip to China in shades of last year, this time however it would be a clash with Tianjin Quanjian on January 30th with the winner set to enter the group stage.

Should Brisbane progress to the Playoff Round against Tianjin there looks to be a potential fixture clash for the Roar with it being almost impossible for Brisbane to field a competitive side in Gosford on the 27th and then back up just three days later in China.

The reward for progressing to the Group Stage would be a spot in Group E alongside 2017 K-League Champion Jeonbuk Hyundai, 2016-17 Hong Kong Champion Kitchee FC and another playoff winner which could be anyone from Muanthong United (Thailand), Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia) or a yet to be confirmed Japanese team.

Should Brisbane replicate their 2017 qualification path which saw them defeat Filipino side Global FC 6-0 at home before defeating Shanghai Shenhua 2-0 on the road, the Roar will progress to their fourth group stage participation.

2016-17 ACL Matchday 5 Preview

While Brisbane have continued to progress in the A-League and find themselves in the Semi-Finals, on the ACL stage the Roar kept their hopes alive two weeks ago with a strong home performance against Kashima Antlers.

Goals from Jamie Maclaren and Brett Holman were enough keep Brisbane’s hopes of progression alive in what was Brisbane’s best performance of the Group Stage so far, and they’ll need to replicate that performance tonight in order to get the result in Thailand.

What have they done lately?
Muanthong United have surprised many people to top Group E after four matches, although given the rise of Thai football perhaps we shouldn’t be as surprised.

Currently Muanthong United sit top of Group E with two matches remaining, and will be confident of progression to the last 16 for the first time.  They will also be confident of maintaining a 100% home record in this years competition, having already defeated Kashima Antlers and Ulsan Hyundai earlier in the group stage.

Things are going equally well on the domestic front for Muanthong who sit top of the Thai Premier League after 10 matches, one points clear of Buriram United.

ACL Group outlook

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With two games to play Group E has tightened up with all four sides still having a chance to progress, although it’s Muanthong and Kashima who currently occupy the spots for progression to the last 16.

For Brisbane, due to the head to head tiebreakers and their heavy losses to Ulsan and Kashima, will need to win their final games in order to progress. Ulsan Hyundai, who Brisbane will play on the final matchday, find themselves in a similar situation.

Expected Line-Ups
With one eye on the A-League Finals clash against Melbourne Victory on Sunday evening in the Victorian Capital, John Aloisi has opted to leave a number of first team players back in Brisbane to prepare. From Friday’s starting line-up, only Luke DeVere, Joe Caletti, Brandon Borrello and Thomas Broich made the trip to Thailand, while substitutes Jamie Young and Nicholas D’Agostino also made the trip.

That means many of Brisbane’s talented youngsters figure to get another chance to show their wears on the continental showpiece in a game which the Roar must win to keep their hopes alive. Joining the youngsters in Thailand for the game however is Manuel Arana who is making his return from a hamstring injury.

Likely Brisbane Roar XI- Young, Ingham, Crestani, DeVere, Rowles, Pepper, Caletti, Arana, Borrello, Broich, D’Agostino.
Substitutes- Bilic, O’Toole, Konstandopoulos, Brady, Katebian.

Last time out Muanthong surprised a lot of people with their ability to control large parts of the game and were unlucky not to get more out of the game, with Teerasil Dangda the star of their many Thailand internationals. Striker Xisco, who was a new arrival at the time, was a handful on the night and figures to be the main danger tonight.

Instead of speculating on who might take the field for Muanthong, here’s the side which defeated Ulsan Hyundai in Matchday 4 two weeks ago.

Likely Muanthong United XI- Kawin, Do, Aoyama, Celio, Bunmathan, Tossakai, Lee, Nawanno, Dangda, Songkrasin, Xisco.
Substitutes- Thongsong, Notchaiya, Kraisorn, Thinjom, Caikultewin, Kulasuwan, Phadungchok.

All-Time Record against Muanthong United


AFC Champions League Matchday 3 Preview

After a much needed nine day break, Brisbane Roar are back in action tonight as Matchday 3 of the 2017 AFC Champions League sees the Roar travel to Japan as they take on Kashima Antlers.

This game brings us to the halfway mark of the Group Stage and with just one point out of six so far, a repeat of the dramatic win away to Urawa Red Diamonds back in 2015 would be a massive boost in terms of getting out of the group.

The nine day break will have no doubt freshened the side up, however things are about to get busy once again with seven games coming up over the next 34 days as the A-League Regular Season concludes and the Champions League Group Stage reaches its final stages.

What have they done lately?
Kashima find themselves in 7th place on the J-League table after three matches, picking up two wins from three. At the weekend the Antlers had a 1-0 win at home against Yokohama F. Marions, although they had to wait until the 83rd minute to get their winner from Yuma Suzuki.

In the Champions League Kashima got off to a good start against with a matchday one win over Ulsan before a shock loss away from home to Muanthong United on matchday two. Currently Kashima sit second in Group E, level on points with Ulsan Hyundai however take the tie-breaker on head to head.

For more information on Kashima Antlers, you can read of getting to know you feature here.


Expected Line-ups
John Aloisi has all but flagged his starting XI for this game due to the injuries for Tommy Oar, Thomas Kristensen and Luke DeVere in addition to those who didn’t travel to Japan for this game. In addition to Devere and Oar, Michael Theo, Dane Ingham, Nathan Konstandopoulos and Joey Katebian were left at home.

The only possible selection drama is in the front third where Manuel Arana could get a start ahead of Brandon Borrello if he hasn’t fully recovered from his injury hasn’t fully cleared. Outside of that the side seems to pick itself, with Avram Papadopoulos likely to start alongside Jade North in defence.

Brisbane Roar- Young, Hingert, Papadopoulos, North, Brown, Caletti, McKay, Holman, Borrello, Broich, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Bilic, Crestani, Rowles, Pepper, Arana, Brady, D’Agostino.

As always it’s very difficult to predict the line-ups for teams in the Champions League given the lack of familiarity, so this is the side which defeated Yokohama F. Marinos 1-0 at the weekend.

Kashima Antlers- Sun-Tae, Ito, Ueda, Shoji, Yamamoto, Endo, Leo Silva, Ogasawara, Doi, Pedro, Kanazaki.
Substitutes- Suzuki, Nagaki, Nakamura, Bueno, Misao, Sogohata, Abe.

Group Preview
Elsewhere tonight in Group E the two winners on Matchday Two will meet in South Korea as third placed Ulsan Hyundai play host to group leaders Muanthong United. With just three points separating the four teams in Group E this Matchday’s fixtures –which bring us to the halfway mark in the round- could be pivotal.

bandicam 2017-03-14 16-25-23-684

Getting to know- Kashima Antlers


Brisbane’s 2017 AFC Champions League campaign resumes on Tuesday night with the Roar looking to get their campaign back on track against J-League giants Kashima Antlers. As we’ve done with every opponent in the Champions League, lets get to know a bit more about the current J-League Champions.

Kashima Antlers were founded as a semi-professional club back in 1947 as Sumitomo Metal Industries Football Club, playing out of Osaka before moving to Kashima in 1975.

When the newly formed professional J-League was formed in 1992, the club changed it’s name to Kashima Antlers and moved into their current home of the Kashima Soccer Stadium in 1993.

When the professional era of the game began in Japan, Kashima quickly emerged as one of the powerhouses of the competition and are one of just two clubs who have been in the J-League since its conception (Yokohama. F. Marinos is the other). ”

Kashima are the most successful club in the J-League’s history, with their eight Championships the most in the history of the competition. The five Emperors Cup wins is also the most for any club in that competition.

1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016.
Emperors Cup- 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010, 2016.
J-League Cup- 1997, 2000, 2002, 2011, 2012, 2015.
Japanese Super Cup- 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2017.


Kashima Soccer Stadium
Opened- 1993
Capacity- 40,728.


Kashima play their home games at the Kashima Soccer Stadium, roughly 90 minutes east of Tokyo and in the city of Kashima. The stadium itself is one of the 10 that Japan used to co-host the 2002 World Cup, with the venue playing host to three Group Stage matches. Kashima have played their home games at the ground since it was opened back in 1993.

Record in AFC Champions League
2003- Group Stage.
2008- Quarter Finals.
2009- Round of 16.
2010- Round of 16.
2011- Round of 16.
2015- Group Stage.

Kashima have been a regular representative of the J-League on the continental stage, with 2017 the Antlers seventh time in the competition. Despite never winning the competition, Kashima had a four year run of progressing beyond the Group Stage, with their best performance occurring in 2008 when they lost to Adelaide United 2-1 on aggregate in the Quarter-Finals.

How they Qualified
Kashima qualified for the 2017 AFC Champions League after winning both the 2016 J-League and the 2016 Emperors Cup, winning the League-Cup double for the third time in the last 16 years.

Manager- Masatada Ishii 50 year old Masatada Ishii has been the manager of Kashima Antlers since 2015 after a playing career which saw him make 109 appearances for the club from 1991-1997. In that time Ishii has lead the Antlers to a fifth placed finish in 2015 before winning the J-League in 2016. A J-League Cup win in 2015 and an Emperors Cup win in 2016, in addition to making the final of last seasons Club World Cup has enhanced his reputations as one of the best managers on the continent.

1) Kwan Sun Tae, 21) Hitoshi Sogahata, 29) Shinichiro Kawamata, 31) Yuto Koizumi.

Defenders- 3) Gen Shoji, 5) Naomichi Ueda, 15) Misao Yuto, Shuto Yamamoto, 22) Daigo Nishi, 23) Oda Itsuki, 24) Yukitoshi Ito, 28) Koki Machida.

Midfielders- 4) Hugo Leonardo Serejo, 6) Ryota Nagaki, 8) Doi Shoma, 11) Weverson Leonardo Moura, 13) Atsutaka Nakamura, 20) Kento Misao, 25) Yasushi Endo, 26) Kazune Kubota, 27) Takahide Umebachi, 33) Kanazaki Mu, 36) Tanaka Toshiya, 40) Mitsuo Ogasawara.

Forwards- 7) Pedro Junior, 9) Yuma Suzuki, 14) Kanamori Takeshi, 18) Shuhei Akasaki, 30) Abe Hiroki.

Key Players
Pedro Junior-
Like a lot of J-League clubs, Kashima rely heavily on visa players from Brazil to strengthen their squad, and Brisbane’s matchday 3 opponent have three freshly signed ones at their disposal. The first of those is 30 year old attacker Pedro Junior, who started out his career with Brazilian lower league side Vila Nova. Four clubs and eight loan moves later across both Brazil and Japan –he joined Omida Ardija in 2007 before moving to Gamba Osaka in 2009- , he returned to Vila Nova in 2012.

That’s when Pedro’s career began to take off, after his goalscoring record of 9 goals in 17 games caught the attention of K-League side Jeju United. 17 goals in 29 games in South Korea saw Junior return to the J-League with Vissel Kobe in 2014. 25 goals in 74 games, including 13 in 2014 were enough to draw the interest of Kashima.

Leonardo- 23 year old forward Leonardo is the second of the three Brazilians for the Antlers and arrives in Japan on a season long loan from Brazilian club Palmeiras. The striker started out his career with Gremio before a loan move to Palmeiras was made permanent in 2013. Since then he’s been out on loan with the likes of Santos and Coritiba, with this year’s loan move his first outside of his homeland. Unlike the other two Brazilians at Kashima, Leonardo has been capped by the National Side, making the one appearance back in 2013 where he came off the bench to score in a 4-0 win in a friendly against Bolivia.

Leo Silva- The third and final Brazilian in the Kashima is 31 year old defensive midfielder Leo Silva, who arrives in Kashima after 122 games for Albirex Niigata –scoring 16 goals. Prior to that Silva started out his career at Brazilian club Cruzeiro before moving on to local Sao Paolo sides Americana and Portuguesa. Silva made the move from Brazil to Japan back in 2013, and was named in the J-League team of the year back in 2014.

Kwan Sun-Tae– 32 year old South Korean goalkeeper Kwan Sun-Tae rounds out the four visa players for Kashima, with the shot stopper arriving in Kashima over the off-season. Kwan brings a wealth of experience with him after 255 appearances for Jeonbuk Hyundai where he won three K-League and two AFC Champions League titles, including the 2016 addition.

Japanese Internationals– 22 year old defender Naomichi Ueda and 28 year old midfielder Ryota Nagaki were both called up to the Japanese National Team for their World Cup Qualifiers back in November. Defender Gen Shoji and midfielders Mu Kanazaki and Yashushi Endo have also been called up to the national side over the last year.

AFC Champions League 2017 Matchday 2 Preview

After a tough loss at home on Saturday afternoon Brisbane Roar are on the road again for the first of four straight road games across both the League and Champions League which will define the sides season. Trips to Kashima, Adelaide an Newcastle are to follow over the next few weeks, but for now it’s K-League side Ulsan Hyundai tonight in matchday two of the AFC Champions League.

Brisbane looked flat at the weekend against a desperate Wellington side and were made to pay the price, the question now however is just how much they’ve been able to freshen up ahead of what is an important game in the context of the whole group. With back to back games against J-League champion Kashima Antlers to follow on Matchday 3 and 4, tonight’s game takes on added significance.

What have they done lately?
Ulsan are still in the final stages of their pre-season, with the 2017 K-League season begins at the weekend, with Ulsan playing host to Pohang Steelers. So far in competitive games this season, Ulsan have scored just the one goal in their two games this season.

In the AFC Champions League Ulsan struggled to get past Hong Kong champions Kitchee FC, drawing 1-1 before progressing to the Group Stage on penalties before losing 2-0 away from home to Kashima Antlers.

You can find out more about Ulsan Hyundai in our getting to know you post –link– and our chat with K-League United.


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Expected Line-ups
Brisbane Roar will still be without Corey Brown and Daniel Bowles for this game, however it seems that everyone else will be fit and available for this game in a huge boost for John Aloisi.

The biggest selection issue for John Aloisi figures to be a choice between Kye Rowles and Joe Caletti, with Matt McKay set to start either at left back or in midfield depending on the selection. Given how solid Kye Rowles looked at the weekend, it’s likely that he gets the start on the left side of defence ahead of Joe Caletti who looked tired against the Phoenix.

Brisbane XI- Hingert, Crestani, North, Rowles, Kristensen, McKay, Holman, Borrello, Oar, Maclaren.
Substitutes- Theo, Ingham, Pepper, Caletti, Arana, Broich, D’Agostino.

With the South Korean side it’s very difficult to gauge given the league season is yet to get underway and we have a small sample size to go from. Add in a range of different formations as outlined in our chat with K-League United it’s hard to know exactly who will play for the South Korean side. Below is the team that Kim Do-Hoon picked for the matchday 1 loss away to Kashima Antlers last week.

Ulsan- Yong Dae, Ki Je Lee, Min Soo, Chi Gon, Chang Soo, Seung Gyu, Sang Wun, Jae Yong, Orsic, Jong Ho, Kovacec.
Substitutes- Suhuk, In Sung, Myung Jae, Seung Hyun, Yong Jin, Windbichler, Petratos.

Group Preview
Elsewhere tonight in Group E Thai Champions Muanthong United play host to current group leader Kashima Antlers, in a game that kicks off at the same time as the Ulsan-Brisbane game.

With tonight’s fixtures taking us to the 1/3 mark of the Group Stage, we will know a lot more about how the group is shaping up tomorrow morning. In the meantime here’s the table going into Matchday 2.


All-Time record against Ulsan Hyundai