• Saturday Nov 18, 2017

    Cibao FC uses Clásico de Campeones as SCCL prep

    Action from Clásico de Campeones match between host Cibao FC (orange jersey) and Real Hope Football Academy on November 16, 2017, in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. (Photo courtesy of Cibao FC)

    SANTIAGO DE LOS CABALLEROS, Dominican Republic – The Dominican Republic’s Cibao FC returned to international football Thursday, dropping a narrow 2-1 decision to Haitian champion Real Hope Football Academy in the Clásico de Campeones.

    The match was part of a three-team tournament at the Estadio Cibao that also included current Dominican champion Atlantico FC.

    For 2017 Caribbean champion Cibao, an initial glimpse was provided on what can be expected in next year's Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League – its first-ever appearance in the competition.

    “This tournament, more than as a preseason, I see it as something to keep us in shape, since we’ve had two months since the end of the league,” said midfielder and captain Edward Acevedo.  “There are several players who were playing with the national team and they arrived tired.  But I think that in January we can do a good preseason, after the team adapts, to give everything in the CONCACAF Champions League.”

    Against Real Hope, Cibao fell behind 1-0 on Nerlin St. Vil’s 19th-minute goal, before Haiti international Charles Herold Jr. leveled from the penalty spot in the 36th minute.  The stalemate endured to the 75th minute, when Spencer Desir struck for the game-winner.

    “This tournament helps us to realize our weak points, to know that we must train more,” Herold Jr. remarked.  “We still have practically three months to prepare fully for the CONCACAF Champions League and I know we will be ready.”

    Experienced midfielder Jesus Meza, who joined Cibao earlier in the month, echoed many of his teammates’ sentiments and kept perspective on upcoming challenges.

    “Although the objective was not attained, which was to win the Clásico de Campeones, I think the preparation matches are very important for the team to synchronize,” finished the 31-year-old Venezuelan.  “I'm just getting to the club, and many of my teammates were playing in their countries’ national teams and arrived tired.  I believe that we must continue working for the commitments of the CONCACAF Champions league and, little-by-little, the team is going to be shaped.”

    Real Hope and Atlantico FC will square off in Saturday’s final.

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