Ceres-Negros FC scored 16 goals in the six Group G matches in the 2017 AFC Cup to reach the ASEAN zone semi-final to play Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT). That's an average of 2.7 goals per match and that is no small feat.
JDT and Benjamin Mora will have to ensure that their concentration levels as well as preparations are done to the best of their capabilities to negate the threats that Ceres can pose. Bienvenido Maradon tops the scoring charts for Ceres in the AFC Cup with seven goals thus far but he isn't the only goal-scoring options that the Philippines side possess.
Goal look back at how Ceres found the back of the net 16 times and analyse where their main threats are coming from.
Four out of the 16 goals that Ceres have scored, comes from outside the penalty box. Direct shots whether from the central position or slightly to the right or left, Ceres packs a punch from distance. Iain Ramsay, Fernando Rodriguez, Manuel Ott and Kevin Ingresso have all scored to contribute to 25%, which is the most common manner in which Ceres find their goals from.
Afiq's tough task in the centre of midfield. Credit: CSN
The midfielders of JDT whether it's Afiq Fazail, Safiq Rahim, Nazmi Faiz or Amirulhadi Zainal will have to be on their toes to ensure that they do a proper job in closing down their opponents. Allowing the Ceres players to take shots from afar without putting some form of pressure on them, could mean disaster for JDT.
Another 19% or 3 of the 16 goals that Ceres scored, have come from counter attacks. Using their speed and skills, Ceres move up the pitch very quickly on the break with Maradon and Ott in particular the dangermen from this regard.
Mora will have to ensure that even when in possession of the ball and on the attack, that they do not leave their defence exposed or outnumbered. The awareness required from the likes of Afiq and Amirulhadi to stay in position will ensure that JDT do not get caught on the break when and if Ceres turnover the possession.
The balace of Ceres' nine goals comes via various means - corner kicks, crossing from wide areas, through pass, individual dribbles and penalties.
Midfield is normally the place where a match is won or lost - judging from their performance in the group stage, JDT will have to match Ceres in that department if they hope to go through to the next stage of the AFC Cup.