Buriram United got their 2015 AFC Champions League campaign up and running on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Group F opponents Seongnam at the New I-Mobile Stadium.
The Thai Premier League outfit edged ahead in the 17th minute when their opponents’ failure to clear their lines inside the box saw the ball fall into the path of Prakit Deeprom, who firmly placed his shot past Park Jun-huk.
Just two minutes later, Buriram doubled their advantage courtesy of a brilliant individual effort by Gilberto Macena, who received possession inside his own half and embarked on a blistering run past two defenders before finding the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
The Korean visitors did manage to pull one back with two minutes remaining when opposition right-back Narubodin Weerawatnodom, in a bid to intercept Hwang Ui-jo’s right-wing cross, could only deflect the ball into his own goal.
Nonetheless, it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation as the Thunder Castle held out for a deserving win.
The result also means the reigning TPL champions currently share the lead in Group F with Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou R&F, who claimed a 2-0 away win over Japan’s Gamba Osaka courtesy of goals from Abderrazak Hamdallah and Wang Song.
Meanwhile, V.League 1 giants Becamex Binh Duong, Southeast Asia’s other representatives in Asia’s premier club competition, were beaten 3-2 by Shandong Luneng Taishan of China in Group E.
Following a goalless first half at the Go Dau Stadium, the visitors broke the deadlock in the 47th minute when Yang Xu nodded a right-wing cross into the six-yard box, where Wang Yongpo reacted quickest to turn the ball home.
However, Binh Duong equalised a minute later after Ganiyu Oseni latched onto a high ball on the edge of the box and charged towards goal before stabbing his shot into the back of the net.
The hosts then took the lead in the 56th minute through a Wang Qiang own-goal, after the defender got his attempted clearance all wrong and met Le Tan Tai’s looping cross with a powerful header past his own goalkeeper.
But right on the hour mark, it was Shandong’s turn to pull level as Yang climbed highest inside the box and sent a deft header into the far corner.
And nine minutes from time, it was the Chinese outfit that went on to claim the victory after Walter Montillo broke free inside the box and lifted the ball over the onrushing Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele, leaving Yang with the simple task of nodding into the unguarded net for his second goal of the evening.
The other Group E game saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Kashiwa Reysol play out a 0-0 draw at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.