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AFC Cup 2020 Boot Spotting: Ceres and Kaya goal scorers in Group Stage Rd 1

With the first round of AFC Cup 2020 group stage action in the books, and Filipino clubs Ceres-Negros FC and Kaya FC-Iloilo beginning their respective campaigns on the right track, here the goal scorers and the boots they wear.

Bienvenido Marañon (FW, Ceres-Negros FC: 2 GOALS)

Ceres-Negros’ prolific Spanish forward, Bienve Marañon, scored a brace in the opener against Cambodian champions Svay Rieng FC, putting him jointly on top of the goal-scoring chart.

If this form can be maintained, the AFC Cup 2019 top scorer is poised for another productive season in the continental stage!

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

Bienvenido Marañon’s boots: Nike Tiempo 8 Legend Elite

Takashi Odawara (MF/DF, Ceres-Negros FC: 1 GOAL)

A wise mid-season acquisition by the busmen last season, Japanese versatile defensive midfielder Takashi Odawara possesses a potent striking ability despite his mainly defensive duties as demonstrated by his goal against Svay Rieng near the edge of the box.

Although a regular haul is not expected from Odawara, it won’t come as a surprise if he could be an occasional option in attack and convert a few in crucial situations.

Photo credit: Ceres-Negros FC

Takashi Odawara’s boots: adidas X 18.1

Joshua Grommen (DF, Ceres-Negros FC: 1 GOAL)

After a two-year stint overseas, Josh Grommen made a homecoming to Ceres-Negros for the 2020 season. And in just his third appearance for the club this year (his second as a starter), Grommen opened his account in the AFC Cup against Svay Rieng.

Although replays show that the 23-year old enforcer may have used his hand in converting the chance fed by team captain Stephan Schröck, the goal stood eventually generating a momentary buzz in the footballing world as another “Hand of God” has been scored.

Josh Grommen’s boots: adidas Copa Gloro 19

Jovin Bedic (FW, Kaya FC-Iloilo: 1 GOAL)

Kaya FC-Iloilo skipper Jovin Bedic was clutch, converting what eventually has been a pivotal second half penalty kick for his club in a tough AFC Cup away opener against Burmese champions Shan United.

With the game finely on the balance, a momentary lapse on the part of the hosts tipped the scales in favor of the Filipino side when substitute Arnel Amita was fouled inside the box. Jovin Bedic stepped up to the occasion as he kept himself cool, calm and collected to convert from the spot without a hint of a doubt that served as the pivotal icebreaker.

Photo credit: AFC Cup

Jovin Bedic’s boots: Nike Mercurial Vapor 13 Elite

Eric Giganto (FW/MF, Kaya FC-Iloilo: 1 GOAL)

One of Kaya FC’s ever-dependable players the past few seasons, Eric Giganto once again demonstrated his importance to the team when he scored a late goal off a feed from Arnel Amita to put his club two-goals up against Shan United and erase all doubts in the tie.

Giganto’s knack for scoring late goals, particularly as a substitute, makes him virtually the club’s super-sub, and his jugular against Shan United further strengthened such case.

Photo credit: Kaya FC-Iloilo

Eric Giganto’s boots: Mizuno Morelia Neo

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Ceres-Negros anticipate arduous AFC Champions League 2020 campaign

Philippine football’s domestic double champions, Ceres-Negros FC, are once again set to embark on their continental campaign for 2020 by facing Myanmar’s national league titleholders Shan United in the AFC Champions League preliminary round one match this January 20, 2019 at the Rizal Stadium.

Already qualified for the AFC Cup Group Stage, the Busmen are looking to take their chances with the hopes of qualifying for the group stage of Asian club football’s highest level of competition.

But it won’t be a walk in the park as stated by Head Coach Risto Vidakovic during the Philippine Sportswriters’ Association Forum last January 8 when it came to their first assignment Shan United given both competing clubs are virtually playing their first matches of their respective seasons with new key player acquisitions.

“This game is very important for us. If we want to go to the next round, we have to fight for it,” shared the Serbian mentor who was also quick to provide on how tricky the task at hand is going to be for his squad.

“[But] nobody knows what is going to happen [in the match] because both teams are going to play their first games [of the season]. Nobody knows how they are and how we are [tactically]. We’ll [have to] see.”

Ceres team captain Stephan Schröck stated that the team’s mindset is on winning their qualification campaign opener.

“It’s always on winning. Regardless if we are prepared or if we have a short time together or long time together (as a team), it’s always about winning… The mindset is prepared. Let’s see if the body will follow.”

Burmese club Shan United are coming into the match as Myanmar’s representatives after winning the 2019 National League undefeated, bannered by local standout forwards Zin Min Tun and Dway Ko Ko Chit. But their crucial acquisition in the offseason is Liberian striker Keith Nah who just played for rivals Ayeyawady United the previous campaign, scoring 10 goals.

Ceres-Negros have just completed getting the services (as of this writing) of Azkals striker Mark Hartmann who previously played for Thai club Nakhon Ratchasima, winger Hikaru Minegishi (formerly of JL Chiang Mai United), defender Josh Grommen (from Sukhothai FC), and Arnie Pasinabo (from Kaya FC) as reinforcements for the upcoming season. Meanwhile the current confirmed departures from the Philippine champions are midfielder Miguel Tanton, team captain Carlie De Murga (rumored to be heading to Thai club Chonburi) and youngster Charles Barberan.

If Ceres-Negros successfully get a positive result against Shan United, they proceed to preliminary round 2 where they will face Thai FA Cup champions Port FC in a week’s time in Thailand who have former Ceres captain and Azkals defender Martin Steuble in their ranks. And if ever the Busmen get through against Port, they go to Japan to face J1 league powerhouse Kashima Antlers as their final hurdle towards breaking through the Champions League group stage.

Ceres-Negros vs Shan United AFC Champions League preliminary round one kicks off  in Rizal Memorial Football Stadium on January 14, 2019 at 7:30PM.

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Azkals overseas: March 2019 weekend 1 fixtures

A new month is upon us. Here are the fixtures of Philippine internationals who are playing in overseas leagues this weekend.

Note: All schedules are in Philippine Standard Time

Neil Etheridge, GK – Cardiff City FC [Premier League]

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Cardiff City FC: March 2, Saturday at 11:00PM

Daisuke Sato, DF – Sepsi OSK [Romanian Liga I Playoff]

CFR Cluj vs Sepsi OSK: March 4, Monday at 2:00AM

John Patrick Strauss, MF – Erzgebirge Aue [2. Bundesliga]

SV Sandhausen vs Erzgebirge Aue: March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza, GK – AC Horsens [Danish Superliga]

Esbjerg vs AC Horsens – March 3, Sunday at 1:00AM

Jordan Jarvis, DF – Eastern [Hong Kong Premier League]

Sun Pegasus vs Eastern – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo, DF – PKNP [Malaysia Super League]

PKNP vs Pahang – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen, DF – PJ City FC [Malaysia Super League]

Felda United vs PJ City FC – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt, MF – Melaka United vs Luke Woodland, DF – Kuala Lumpur FA [Malaysia Premier League]

Melaka United vs Kuala Lumpur – March 3, Sunday at 9:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi, MF – JL Chiangmai United [Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai United vs BG Pathum United – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Mark Hartmann, FW – Suphanburi vs Javier Patino, FW & Stephan Palla, DF – Buriram United [Thai League 1]

DONE: Suphanburi 0 – 0 Buriram United – March 1, Friday at 8:00PM

Michael Falkesgaard, GK – Bangkok United [Thai League 1]

Bangkok United vs Muangthong United – March 2, Saturday at 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay, MF – Sukhothai [Thai League 1]

Chiangmai vs Sukhothai – March 2, Saturday at 9:00PM

Marco Casambre, DF & Adam Reed, MF – Chainat Hornbill [Thai League 1]

Trat vs Chainat Hornbill – March 3, Sunday at 7:00PM

Amin Nazari, MF & Manuel Ott, MF – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol [Thai League 1]

Port FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol – March 3, Sunday at 8:00PM

Photo credits: Buriram United Facebook, Suphanburi Facebook, Sukhothai Facebook, Melaka United Facebook, Neil Etheridge Instagram,

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Azkals overseas: February 2019 weekend 4 fixtures

There’s a bit of a shakeup in the Azkals overseas lineup as Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland join PKNP and Kuala Lumpur FA respectively in the Malaysia Super League.

Also, with the Thai League 1 beginning this weekend, it is going to be a pretty busy set of fixtures with the list of matches coming this week [all kickoff schedules are in Philippine Standard Time]:

Neil Etheridge [GK, Cardiff City FC – Premier League]

Cardiff City vs Watford – February 23 [Saturday], 3:45 AM

Daisuke Sato [DF, Sepsi OSK – Romanian Liga I Playoff]

Sepsi OSK vs Viitorul – Feburary 23 [Saturday], 1:00AM

Kevin Ray Mendoza [GK, AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

AC Horsens vs Odense Boldklub – February 24 [Sunday], 9:00PM

John-Patrick Strauß [MF, FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

Erzgebirge Aue vs FC Duisburg – February 24 [Sunday], 9:30PM

Hikaru Minegishi [MF, JL Chiangmai United – Thai League 2]

Sisaket FC vs JL Chiangmai United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

MALAYSIA SUPER LEAGUE

Joshua Grommen [DF, PJ City FC]: PJ City FC vs Kedah FA [Home] – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Patrick Reichelt [MF/FW, Melaka United]: Johor Darul Ta’zim vs Melaka United – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

Luke Woodland [DF/MF, Kuala Lumpur FA]: Kuala Lumpur vs Terengganu – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Amani Aguinaldo [DF, PKNP FC]: PKNS vs PKNP – February 23 [Saturday], 9:00PM

THAI LEAGUE 1

Amin Nazari [MF], Manuel Ott [MF] – Ratchaburi Mitr Phol: Ratchaburi Mitr Phol vs Trat FC – February 22 [Friday], 9:00PM

Marco Casambre [DF], Adam Reed [MF] – Chainat Hornbill vs Mark Hartmann [FW, Suphanburi FC]: Chainat Hornbill vs Suphanburi – February 23 [Saturday], 7:45PM

Stephan Palla [DF], Javier Patino [FW] – Buriram United: Buriram United vs Chonburi – February 23 [Saturday], 8:00PM

Iain Ramsay [MF, Sukhothai FC] vs Michael Falkesgaard [GK, Bangkok United]: Sukhothai vs Bangkok United – Feburary 24 [Sunday], 7:00PM

Photo credits: PKNP FC Instagram, Kuala Lumpur FA Instagram

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Azkals in Malaysia: Reichelt and Melaka United snatch a draw; Grommen and PJ City get first win.

Massive results for both Azkals Patrick Reichelt and Joshua Grommen in their respective Malaysia Super League teams last February 16 as Melaka United get a draw in a pulsating encounter against top team Pahang while Petaling Jaya City get first win in a pulsating thriller against PKNP.

Melaka United 1 – 1 Pahang

Hosts Melaka United had to dig deep to get an equalizer via a Safiq Rahim penalty kick late in the 89th minute to cancel out Pahang’s 5th minute opener as both previously perfect teams shared spoils at the final whistle.

Visitors Pahang got the breakthrough in just the 5th minute as Herold Goulon converted a spilled ball by Melaka United goalkeeper Khairul Fami.

Filipino winger Patrick Reichelt’s first half header could have been an equalizer but his attempt was saved by the opposing goalkeeper Helmi Eliza.

Most of the match have been a battle of the goalkeepers, thwarting both squads’ attacking attempts.

But an uncharacteristic foul by Eliza in the box late in the match has given the hosts a chance to level things through a penalty kick which Safiq Rahim was able to convert.

PKNP 2 – 3 Petaling Jaya City FC

Visiting side Petaling Jaya City FC [also known as PJ City FC] got their first three points in the table after edging out hosts PKNP after going a goal down twice with the visiting side’s midfielder Barathkumar scoring the winning goal in the 81st minute.

Filipino defender for PJ City, Joshua Grommen, has been in the thick of things as a starter and part of the backline in the thrilling fixture.

PJ City FC will next face current league leaders Kedah FA in a home fixture on Friday, February 22, at 9:00PM while Melaka United will visit Johor Darul Ta’zim in a match between undefeated sides on Saturday, February 23, at 9:00PM

Photo credits: Melaka United, PKNPMalaysian Football League

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Azkals in overseas leagues fixtures for February 2019: Weekend 3

It’s the third weekend of February as the Philippine Azkals in Europe, Malaysia and Thai League 2 continue with their respective campaigns.

Here are the schedules for this upcoming matchdays for the week [All schedules are in Philippine Standard Time, GMT +8]:

Hikaru Minegishi [JL Chaingmai United – Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai vs Khon Kaen [Home] – February 16 [Saturday]. Kickoff: 8:00PM

After opening their league campaign with a 1-0 loss away from home against Udonthani last February 10, JL Chiangmai United with Filipino midfielder Hikaru Minegishi are about to have their first home match against Khon Kaen which also lost their first assignment as both teams try to get their first win of the season.

Joshua Grommen [Petaling Jaya City – Malaysia Super League]

PKNP vs Petaling Jaya City [Away] – February 16, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff: 9:00PM

A 1-1 draw against Selangor last February 9, earned Filipino defender Joshua Grommen’s PJ City FC their first point in the standings after two matches.

But the next fixture in their bid to get their first three points could be a challenging one as they are on an away mission against PKNP, which share an identical record of one loss and a draw.

Patrick Reichelt [Melaka United – Malaysia Super League]

Melaka United vs Pahang [Home] – February 16, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 9:00PM

After getting their second win in as many matches in the Super League from a 1-0 win against hosts PKNS – with Filipino midfielder Patrick Reichelt even getting Man of the Match honors, Melaka United aim to keep their perfect start to the season in their third fixture.

It will be easier said than done though as they host current leaders Pahang who are on a goalscoring spree with six goals scored and only one conceded in just two matches.

Daisuke Sato [Sepsi OSK – Romania Liga I]

Gaz Metan vs Sepsi OSK [Away]- February 17, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff 11:30PM

Azkals defender Daisuke Sato’s club Sepsi OSK have had a rough start after the winter break, dropping their previous two fixtures.

Although the results did not affect their standing in the table as they proceed for the championship playoff round, they would need to get a win away against Gaz Metan in the hopes of kicking off their campaign back to winning ways.

John-Patrick Strauss [FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

FC St. Pauli vs Erzgebirge Aue [Away] – February 16, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 8:00PM

Erzgebirge Aue and Filipino midfielder John-Patrick Strauss hope to get the breakthrough win after getting back to back losses in their return from winter break.

Kevin Ray Mendoza Hansen [AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

Horsens vs Vendsyssel FF [Home] – February 17, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff at 7:00PM.

After getting a point in a goalless away fixture against Hobro, AC Horsens and Azkals goalkeeper Kevin Ray Mendoza host Vendsyssel to get full three points after the winter break.

Photo credits: Sepsi OSK, Melaka United, JL Chiangmai United,

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Azkals overseas fixtures for February 2019: Weekend 2

The Philippine Azkals based overseas are now slowly getting back into the pitch with the commencement of leagues in Asia while those based in Europe have their respective clubs ready to compete once again after the winter break.

Here are their fixtures you may follow this weekend [kickoff times are in Philippine Standard Time or GMT +8]:

Patrick Reichelt [Melaka United – Malaysia Super League]

PKNS FC vs Melaka United [Away] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 9:00PM

After getting a good start with his new club Melaka United via a win at home against Petaling Jaya City FC, Patrick Reichelt and his teammates are aiming to build on the result as they visit PKNS to make it two wins in two matches.

Joshua Grommen [Petaling Jaya City – Malaysia Super League]

Petaling Jaya City vs Selangor [Home] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 9:00PM

Joshua Grommen’s club may have slipped in its first MSL assignment against Melaka United but for their second fixture, they get to face Selangor at their home turf.

Although the Filipino defender received plaudits for his combative efforts by playing through an injury, him suiting up this weekend could still be in doubt as he gets monitored on his fitness after suffering a dislocated shoulder.

UPDATE: According to Rudolf, Joshua Grommen’s father, the player will feature for the squad and will wear a special shoulder brace so he can play.

Neil Etheridge [Cardiff City – Premier League]

Southampton vs Cardiff City FC [Away] – February 9, 2019 [Saturday]. Kickoff at 11:00PM

Cardiff City will build on the win they have achieved against Bournemouth the previous matchday with Azkals keeper Neil Etheridge pulling off some crucial saves. But they’ll be facing Southampton next time as visitors while they try to pull themselves out of the relegation zone.

Daisuke Sato [Sepsi OSK – Romania Liga I]

Sepsi OSK vs Dinamo Bucuresti [Home]- February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff 2:00AM

Daisuke Sato’s club Sepsi OSK slipped against Voluntari in their post-winter break opener, but the next fixture will still most possibly be a challenge still as they go up against Dinamo Bucuresti, as the Sfantu Gheorghe-based club will try to keep themselves in the top half of the league and avoid the relegation playout.

Hikaru Minegishi [JL Chiangmai United – Thai League 2]

JL Chiangmai United vs Udon Thani FC [Home] – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff 7:00PM

Hikaru Minegishi will debut for his newly promoted club JL Chiangmai United in Thailand’s League 2, with the optimism of coming up with an excellent campaign in the second-tier.

Kevin Ray Mendoza Hansen [AC Horsens – Danish Superliga]

Hobro vs Horsens [Away] – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff at 7:00PM

Kevin Ray Mendoza will suit up for AC Horsens after the winter break. Let’s see if he will be a starter for the club.

Horsens still have six games left to improve their standing [currently 8th] and qualify for the championship round.

John-Patrick Strauss [FC Erzgebirge Aue – 2. Bundesliga]

Erzgebirge Aue vs Ingolstadt – February 10, 2019 [Sunday]. Kickoff at 8:30PM

John-Patrick Strauss has yet to feature as a starter after decent performances for the Azkals in both the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and AFC Cup 2019. The club will hope to climb further up the standings as they are currently in the lower half of the table [13th out of 18].

Photo credits: Hikaru Minegishi, Sepsi OSK, Cardiff City FC, Melaka United SA

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Azkals in overseas clubs: 1st weekend of February 2019 fixtures

With club football starting to be back [with the exception of the Premier League] for several countries as the winter break comes to a close while the football season slowly begins in Asia, here is the list of games this weekend in different leagues where several Philippine Azkals are playing.

Note: All kick-off times are in Philippine Standard Time [GMT +8]

Azkals clash in Malaysia Super League: Patrick Reichelt [Winger/Forward, Melaka United] vs Joshua Grommen [Defender, Petaling Jaya City FC]

Melaka United begin their Super League season at home against Petaling Jaya City on February 2, 2019. Kickoff time is at 9:00 PM.

Neil Etheridge [Goalkeeper, Cardiff City FC; Premier League]

Away fixture vs Bournemouth on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff time is at 1:30 AM.

Daisuke Sato [Defender, Sepsi OSK; Romanian Liga I]

Away fixture vs Voluntari on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff time is 11:30 PM.

John-Patrick Strauß [Midfielder, FC Erzgebirge Aue; 2. Bundesliga]

Home fixture vs FC Köln on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Kickoff Time is 8:30 PM.

Photo credits: Rudolf Holland, FC Erzgebirge Aue, Melaka United SA, Daisuke Sato, Neil Etheridge

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LOOK: Azkals’ Joshua Grommen formally unveiled by newly rebranded Malaysian Super League club

Azkals U-23 defender Joshua Grommen has been formally introduced by his new Malaysian club, Petaling Jaya City FC [formerly known as MISC-MIFA or MIFA in short] coinciding with the club’s rebrand in the afternoon of January 16, 2019.

The acquisition was initially reported as confirmed days before the formal unveiling of the new club name. But with the latest development and official rebrand, the 22-year-old Filipino is now considered a Petaling Jaya City FC player.

Josh Grommen is also expected to play the same role for the most part in his new club, as a centre-back, during the unveiling ceremony held in Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The event has just been concluded just a few hours as of this writing. Here is a link showing part of the unveiling of the players, including Josh Grommen.

The Malaysian Super League begins its season on February 1, 2019 with Petaling Jaya City set to commence their campaign on February 2 in an away fixture against Melaka at 9:00PM HKT.

Photo credit: Rudolf Holland

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Azkals’ Josh Grommen joins Malaysia Super League club MISC-MIFA

According to a goal.com report, current Azkals U-23 and former Davao Aguilas defender Joshua Grommen formally joins Malaysian Indian Sports Council-Malaysian Indian Football Association [MISC-MIFA] for the 2019 Malaysia Super League [MSL] season.

MISC-MIFA are scheduled to formally unveil their Filipino signing tomorrow Wednesday, January 15, although the actual deal has been signed already as of late December of 2018.

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The 22-year-old Azkals U-23 international usually handles a defensive role and is deployed mostly as a centre-back and will most probably be assigned the same for his new club.

Before his stint with Davao Aguilas last 2018, Josh Grommen played for Ceres-Negros FC where he was able to be a part of the squad that won the first ever domestic league title last 2017.

MISC-MIFA are currently in the midst of their preseason preparations with a series of scheduled friendly matches ahead of the Super League’s commencement on February 1, 2019. MISC-MIFA kick off their campaign with a league fixture on February 2, 2019 against Melaka United.

Joshua Grommen will play under head coach Devan Kuppusamy who also was a former player and an international for Malaysia before becoming a multi-titled mentor.

MISC-MIFA play their home matches at Petaling Jaya Stadium, located in the city of the same name in Selangor, Malaysia approximately 17 kilometres west of Kuala Lumpur.

Photo credit: Joshua Grommen Instagram