Chonburi fall short at final hurdle after crushing Beijing defeat

Chonburi were eliminated at the final round of qualifying for the AFC Champions League following a 4-0 loss to Beijing at the Workers Stadium on Saturday.

A stunning burst in the opening 18 minutes saw Beijing race to a three-goal lead thanks to a brace from Joffre Guerron and a Peter Utaka strike, leaving the visitors needing a miracle to get back into the contest.

The comfortable lead did see the hosts take their foot of the pedal after the break, but they always remained in control and even added a fourth a minute from time when substitute Shao Jiayi netted from close range.

Having made it all the way to the Round of 16 last year, the Chinese Super League outfit were favourites to see off their Thai opponents and book their place in Asia’s premier club competition once again.

But even they could not have dreamt of a better start as they took the lead inside the first minute; Chonburi centre-backs Anderson dos Santos and Fode Bangaly Diakite leaving a long ball for one another and allowing Guerron to nip in and fire past Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool.

While his opener came through a touch of good fortune, it was sheer class that saw Guerron get his second in the 11th minute as he expertly brought down Xu Yunlong’s long pass on his right foot, before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed drive into the back of the net.

And just seven minutes later, it was 3-0 after Zhang Xinxin latched onto a loose ball and raced down the left before crossing to the near post, where Utaka leapt highest to send a header past a hapless Sinthaweechai.

Although they were now in possession of a healthy lead, the Beijing players continued to look hungry; especially Guerron who was already on a hat-trick.

His team-mates were also looking for him at every opportunity and Zhang Chengdong embarked on a determined run past Korakod Wiriyaudomsiri and Diakite in the 27th minute before crossing for the Ecuadorian, only for his shot to be blocked by Dos Santos.

Guerron then almost returned to favour to Zhang Chengdong in the 48th minute when he picked out the winger with a lovely pass, but Chonlatit Jantakam raced back in time to clear after he had fired past Sinthaweechai.

The Sharks goalkeeper then produced a fantastic save to keep the scoreline down a minute later; Xu Yunlong meeting the resultant corner with a bullet header that was headed for the roof of the net.

Guerron then looked to have completed his hat-trick three minutes after the hour mark when he met Zhang Chengdong’s near-post flick-on and nodded home, only for it to be correctly ruled out for offside.

To their credit, Chonburi never stopped looking to push forward and were unlucky not to grab a goal of their own in the 84th minute when Bavorn Tapla, just three minutes after coming on, curled a lovely effort from the edge of the box into the foot of the post.

Nonetheless, a minute from time, the rout was complete as Beijing added a fourth after Zhang Chengdong raced past Chonlatit down the left before firing in a cross, leaving Shao with the simple task of sweeping home from 12 yards.

And in injury-time, the visitors were reduced to ten men after Thiago Cunha received a straight red for stepping on Zhang Xinxin, adding more misery on a disappointing night for Chonburi.

Beijing Guoan: Yang Zhi, Zhou Ting (Zhao Hejing 90’), Lang Zheng, Xu Yunlong, Zhang Xinxin, Darko Matic, Piao Cheng, Zhang Chengdong, Peter Utaka (Shao Jiayi 74’), Zhang Xizhe (Ha Dae-sung 74’), Joffre Gueron.

Chonburi: Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, Chonlatit Jantakam, Anderson dos Santos, Fode Bangaly Diakite, Korakod Wiriyaudomsiri, Nurul Sriyankem (Sukree Etae 84’), Kazuto Kushida, Adul Lahso, Nattaphong Samana (Anuwat Narkkasaem 70’), Thiago Cunha, Pipob On-mo (Bavorn Tapla 81’).

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