Buriram United made it two wins in a row in the AFC Champions League after coming from behind to defeat Group F opponents Guangzhou R&F 2-1 on Tuesday.
It was the Chinese side that had taken the lead at the Yuexiushan Stadium in the 27th minute after Lu Lin beat the offside trap to meet Michel’s searching pass, and – showing great agility – met it at full stretch with a deft touch to divert the ball past a stranded Sivaruck Tedsungnoen.
However, the Thai Premier League champions equalised a minute before halftime when Theerathon Bunmathan whipped an excellent corner to the near post; Go Seul-ki escaping his marker with a darting run before sending a firm header into the back of the net.
It then looked as though a draw was on the cards as neither side were unable to add to their tally for much of the second half.
But in the 90th minute, Diogo nodded a long ball by Theerathon into the path of Gilberto Macena, who produced a stunning bicycle kick that looped over Liu Dianzuo to win it for Buriram.
With a maximum of six points from their opening two games, the Thunder Castle currently find themselves top of Group F and are already in a strong position to qualify for the knockout round.
Tuesday’s other Group F clash saw Seongnam FC beat Gamba Osaka 2-0 courtesy of goals from Ricardo Bueno and Hwang Ui-jo.
Over in Group E, V.League 1 outfit Becamex Binh Duong crashed to a second straight defeat after being hammered 5-1 by Japanese giants Kashiwa Reysol at the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium.
The hosts edged ahead in the 43rd minute when a fairly tame cross by Cristiano was somehow allowed to find Masato Kudo, who clinically slotted past Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele.
Right on the stroke of halftime, they doubled their lead after Binh Duong centre-back David Vrankovic, in a bid to intercept a pass, could only head the ball into his own goal.
The contest was effectively over in the 56th minute when Kim Chang-soo added another for Kashiwa; the South Korean beating the offside trap to latch onto Akimi Barada’s slide-rule pass and keeping his composure to finish into the bottom corner.
Nonetheless, the J.League 1 outfit refused to take their foot off the pedal and Kudo doubled his tally for the evening seven minutes after the hour mark, when he found himself unmarked and was left with the simplest of headers after Yuki Otsu had glanced Barada’s corner to the back post.
And 15 minutes from time, a fifth goal arrived for Kashiwa as Hidekazu Otani’s long-range strike took a wicked deflection and sailed past a hapless Bui Tan Truong, who had replaced Thien Esele.
Binh Duong did manage to pull one back six minutes later when Ganiyu Oseni broke free inside the box after a perfectly-weighted pass from Le Cong Vinh and coolly lifted his shot over the onrushing Takanori Sugeno, although it ultimately proved to be little more than a consolation.
The other match in the group saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors claim an impressive 4-1 win over Shandong Luneng Taishan at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium, meaning they and Kashiwa are currently tied at the top of the table on four points.
Tuesday’s AFC Champions League Results
Bunyodkor 0-1 Persepolis
Lekhwiya 1-1 Al Nassr
Naft Tehran 1-1 Al Ain
Al Shabab 2-2 Pakhtakor
Shandong Luneng Taishan 1-4 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Kashiwa Reysol 5-1 Becamex Binh Duong
Seongnam FC 2-0 Gamba Osaka
Guangzhou R&F 1-2 Buriram United