Ceres-Negros FC takes on Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in the ASEAN zone semi-final first leg of the 2017 AFC Cup and it will be the second time that the Philippines side has come up against a Malaysian team, having faced Felda United in the group stages.
For head coach Risto Vidakovic, he understands that JDT will be a tougher hurdle than Felda and he challenged his players to rise to the occasion, to give a proper fight to the former AFC Cup champions.
"For us it's a big challenge to play this game. We have to do the same things we did before, just to keep compete. I'm sure my players will do everything to reach a good result. My target is for my players to give 100% and compete," said Vidakovic in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
Despite the stars that are in JDT's side, Vidakovic doesn't want his team to focus on individual players but would rather see his Ceres side play according to their game plan from an overall aspect.
"They [JDT] play offensive football and i don't think they will change anything because they are playing at home. They have a lot of good players - foreign and national players. For me, when I play against some clubs, I see the whole team not just some individual players," added Vidakovic.
Ceres comes into the match after finishing as winner of Group G whereas JDT only finished second behind Global FC in Group F, however Vidakovic refused to point themselves as favourites for the tie.
"They play at home and they are a big club. If i said we are favourites, it's not true. In football, you never know - anything can happen. There are no favourites. They are strong team of course but we have our opportunities - of course we would go for it," explained Vidakovic.
As for midfielder Manuel Ott, he and his team mates cannot wait for the match on Wednesday and promised that they will put on a good performance despite the big challenge that lie ahead of them.
"We came here to play a good game. We know it's a tough opponent and a big club. We're here to compete and we're excited to play tomorrow," said Ott.
Having plied his trade in the German Bundesliga before, Ott says that the AFC Cup is a tournament that inspires the players because it pits them against the best of the region and the matches in the tournament are always one to look out for.
"Football never has change anywhere. It's always nice to play AFC Cup game because the level is different. It's good quality teams and we want to measure ourselves against the best teams in the ASEAN zone and JDT is a part of it," added Ott.