Buriram’s last-16 hopes dented; Binh Duong eliminated from ACL

Buriram United’s hopes of qualifying for the AFC Champions League Round of 16 were dealt a real blow on Wednesday as they were beaten 2-1 by Seongnam FC in Group F.

The Thai giants found themselves behind at the Tancheon Sports Complex when Kim Do-heon converted from the penalty spot, after his initial shot from inside the area was adjudged to have been blocked by Narubadin Weerawatnodom with his hand.

Seven minutes before the break, Seongnam extended their lead when Nam Joon-jae was left completely unmarked inside the six-yard box to meet Kim Do-heon’s dangerous freekick with a thumping header into the back of the net.

The visitors did reduce the deficit with 13 minutes remaining when Diogo reacted quickest to Korawit Narmwiset’s flick-on header and nodded the ball home from close range.

However, they were just unable to find an equaliser in the remainder of the contest and fell to their second straight defeat, following another 2-1 loss to Gamba Osaka at the start of the month.

The result, coupled with Gamba’s 5-0 thrashing of Guangzhou R&F, means that for the first time in the campaign, Buriram are out of the top two in Group F and face the realistic prospect of missing out on a place in the Round of 16.

Given Gamba’s better head-to-head record, the only way the Thunder Castle can now qualify is if they can better the J.League 1 champions’ result against already-qualified Seongnam on May 6 in their clash with Guangzhou R&F.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese side Becamex Binh Duong’s hopes of advancing from Group E were officially ended after they lost to Shandong Luneng Taishan 3-1 at the Jinan Olympic Sports Center Stadium.

Binh Duong actually got off to a fine start as they edged ahead in the 19th minute when Nguyen Tang Tuan won possession off Dai Lin just outside the box and the ball eventually broke to Nguyen Trong Hoang, who coolly slotted through the legs of Wang Dalei.

But eight minutes later, the hosts drew level after Yang Xu out-jumped David Vrankovic inside the area to meet Diego Tardelli’s right-wing cross and send a header into the top corner.

Tardelli was the provider again as the Chinese Super League side took the lead a minute after the hour mark; Junior Urso making a late run into the box to meet his compatriot’s low pass and got enough on his shot to put the ball over the line before Au Van Hoan cleared it away.

And in the 70th minute, Shandong went on to seal the victory as Yang again got the better of Vrankovic to break free inside the box, before somehow managing to force the ball past the onrushing Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele for his side’s third goal.

There is now mathematically no way Binh Duong can progress to the knockout stage and they are already consigned to finishing bottom of the group, while Kashiwa Reysol and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors currently occupy the top two.

Wednesday’s AFC Champions League Results (East Zone)

Group E

Kashiwa Reysol 3-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Shandong Luneng Taishan 3-1 Becamex Binh Duong

Group F

Seongnam FC 2-1 Buriram United

Guangzhou R&F 0-5 Gamba Osaka

Binh Duong eliminated from ACL despite claiming first point

Becamex Binh Duong’s hopes of qualifying for the AFC Champions League knockout round were ended on Wednesday despite a 1-1 draw against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group E.

Having lost all three of their opening matches, the V.League 1 outfit entered the tie knowing only a victory would be enough to keep alive their hopes of advancing from the group stage.

However, they found themselves with an even bigger mountain to climb after falling behind a minute after the half-hour mark; Eninho curling a corner straight towards goal that was misjudged by Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele, who could only help push it into the back of the net.

But despite having the odds stacked firmly against them, the hosts showed plenty of endeavour and matched their more-illustrious opponents for much of the game.

They were unlucky not to equalise seven minutes into the second half when Nguyen Anh Duc smashed a shot off the bar, following a neat turn on the edge of the box.

The woodwork also denied Edu from adding to Jeonbuk’s tally in the 82nd minute after he was somehow left unattended inside the opposition area, only to rattle the crossbar with a ferocious attempt that had Thien Esele beaten all ends up.

Nonetheless, Binh Duong refused to give in and ultimately got their reward in the third minute of injury-time, when Abass Cheikh Dieng pounced on a loose ball outside the box and sent an unstoppable piledriver flying past Hong Jeong-nam to force the draw.

Despite their inevitable elimination, the jubilation from the Binh Duong camp was clear for all to see at the final whistle as they celebrated a positive result against their South Korean opponents, who won the tournament back in 2006 and reached the final as recently as 2011.

Becamex Binh Duong: Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele, Au Van Hoan, Michal Nguyen, David Vrankovic, Nguyen Xuan Thanh (Dang Van Robert 67’), Hoang Van Binh, Moses Oloya, Ganiyu Oseni, Trinh Quang Ninh (Le Cong Vinh 60’), Abass Cheikh Dieng, Nguyen Anh Duc (Nguyen Tang Tuan 71’).

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors: Hong Jeong-nam, Lee Jae-myung, Alex Wilkinson, Cho Sung-hwan, Choi Bo-kyung, Jung Hoon, Moon Sang-yun (Ryu Chang-hyun 81’), Lee Kyu-ro, Eninho (Kim Dong-chan 68’), Lee Sung-hyun (Leonardo 55’), Edu.

Buriram stay top in ACL despite home loss to Gamba

Buriram United remain top of Group F in the AFC Champions League despite falling to a 2-1 loss to Gamba Osaka at the New I-Mobile Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Thai Premier League outfit had initially taken the lead through a Theerathon Bunmathan strike after eight minutes but Lins equalised for Gamba five minutes before halftime, before substitute Kotaro Omori struck to win it for the Japanese side in the 87th minute.

Buriram have every reason to feel hard done by given they dominated proceedings for large parts of the contest, and also had a goal controversially ruled out just before the visitors netted the winner.

Still, they remain top of Group F, tied with Seongnam on seven points, and could potentially secure their place in the knockout round with a win over the South Koreans in their next match on April 22.

But the scenario could have been so much better for the Thunder Castle had they been able to claim maximum points on Wednesday, and it certainly looked that way after they broke the deadlock in the eighth minute.

With their opponents reeling from an early injury to centre-back Takaharu Nishino, who had to be replaced by Kim Jung-ya, the hosts capitalised as Theerathon lined up a corner and sent a sublime curling effort over Masaaki Higashiguchi and straight into the back of the net.

It could have been 2-0 five minutes later when Diogo broke free inside the area and a lovely one-two with Jakkraphan Kaewprom, only for him to send a tame shot straight at the opposition keeper.

However, after their slow start, Gamba eventually got into the game and – after issuing a couple of warning shots with long-range attempts – eventually found the equaliser in the 40th minute.

An incisive passing move that began near the halfway line eventually saw Shu Kurata feed a neat pass into the path of Lins, who made no mistake in stabbing his shot past Sivaruck Tedsungnoen.

Just before halftime, it looked as though the J.League Division 1 champions have overturned the deficit when Takashi Usami’s low cross into the box was converted at the far post by Hiroyuki Abe, only for the strike to be correctly ruled out for offside.

Straight up the other end, Diogo had another golden opportunity after receiving the final ball from Go Seul-ki following a lovely one-touch passing move, but the Brazilian once again shot straight at Higashiguchi with the entire goal to aim at.

Buriram continued to be in control of proceedings in the second half but were just unable to reclaim the lead; Go slipping at the crucial moment as he was about to pull the trigger and firing wide in the 54th minute, before Jakkraphan curled a shot wide of the near post after finding space inside the box on the hour mark.

Suchao Nutnum was next to threaten for the hosts when he latched onto a loose ball and lashed a left-footed shot off target in the 70th minute, but the best opportunity was spurned with nine minutes remaining.

Reacting quickest after Gilberto Macena’s cross had been cleared into his path, Diogo forced Higashiguchi into a splendid save but the ball fell to substitute Prakit Deeprom, only for the substitute to somehow blaze over from two yards out.

Then, controversy struck in the 85th minute when Diogo appeared to have been brought down inside the area by Koki Yonekura as he attempted to latch onto Macena’s through-ball, which made its way to Theerathon, who slotted past Higashiguchi.

However, referee Ahmed Al Kaf ruled out the goal as his linesman penalised Diogo for offside, even though replays showed that the last touch came off Yonekura before the ball reached Theerathon.

And to add insult to injury, Yonekura went up the other end two minutes later and played a crucial part in Gamba claiming the three points, deftly playing a cross from the right into the path of Omori, who blasted a ferocious first-time effort into the bottom corner to win it for his side.

Buriram United: Sivaruck Tedsungnoen, Chitipat Tanklang, Andres Tunez, Korawit Namwiset, Narubodin Weerawatnodom (Suree Sukha 46’), Go Seul-ki, Jakkraphan Kaewprom (Prakit Deeprom 71’), Suchao Nutnum, Theerathon Bunmathan, Diogo, Gilberto Macena.

Gamba Osaka: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Koki Yonekura, Daiki Niwa, Takaharu Nishino (Kim Jung-ya 8’), Hiroki Fujiharu, Hiroyuki Abe (Shingo Akamine 61′), Yasuyuki Konno, Yasuhito Endo, Shu Kurata (Kotaro Omori 78’), Lins, Takashi Usami.

Buriram stay unbeaten after fighting back for Gamba draw

Buriram United remain at the top of Group F in the AFC Champions League after coming from behind to play out a 1-1 draw with Gamba Osaka on Wednesday.

It was the Japanese outfit who took the lead at the Osaka Expo ’70 Stadium in the 39th minute when Hiroyuki Abe opened the scoring, but Theerathon Bunmathan equalised with a stunning freekick two minutes after the hour mark to earn Buriram a share of the spoils.

After Seongnam had moved level at the top of the standings by beating Guangzhou R&F 1-0 on Tuesday, the draw in Japan was enough to hand the Thai Premier League giants back a one-point lead at the halfway mark of the group stage.

Having claimed impressive victories over Seongnam and Guangzhou in their opening two matches,  the Thunder Castle entered Wednesday’s clash looking to maintain their perfect record against a Gamba side that had yet to pick up any points.

The visitors had an excellent chance to break the deadlock after four minutes when Diogo climbed well inside the area to meet a lovely freekick from Suchao Nutnum, only to send his header wide of the mark.

Four minutes later, they came close again after brilliant improvisation by Prakit Deeprom saw him acrobatically send a mid-air volley looping towards goal, but Masaaki Higashiguchi raced back in time to claw it to safety.

However, Gamba did eventually find their rhythm and threatened for the first time when Abe found space on the edge of the box and rifled away a low shot that Sivaruck Tedsungnoen managed to push onto the bar.

As the half wore on, the hosts really began to dominate proceedings and they duly opened the scoring six minutes before halftime after good work by Patric saw him charge down the right and pick out Takashi Usami with a low cross.

Although Sivaruck did well to keep out the ex-Bayern Munich man’s initial effort, there was little he could do to prevent Abe from pouncing on the rebound and firing a shot into the unguarded net.

Still, Buriram refused to be deterred by falling behind and raised their efforts after the break; Diogo wasting a half-chance in the 56th minute when he unleashed a snapshot from outside the area that safely skipped past the near post.

But just six minutes later, the equaliser finally arrived when Theerathon lined up a freekick 25 yards out from goal, and proceeded to send a spectacular curling effort that sailed past Higashiguchi’s despairing dive and dipped into the top corner.

The visitors were then unlucky not to edge ahead from another set-piece situation in the 74th minute and this time it was captain Suchao Nutnum who unleashed a long-range effort, only to see it bounce off the bar and out to safety.

As the game entered its closing stages, Gamba began to push more and more men forward in search of the winner, but it was the Thunder Castle who looked more dangerous on the counter.

Theerathon could have turned provider in the 79th minute when he played a brilliant through-pass to release Gilberto Macena, who raced through down the left but could only fire into the side-netting from a tight angle.

And four minutes from time, Buriram had one final chance to steal the win when Macena broke free on the left once more and clipped a dangerous cross into the six-yard box; Diogo getting in ahead of Higashiguchi but the Brazilian was just unable to divert the ball towards the gaping goal.

In the end, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils when the final whistle blew shortly after, but Thunder Castle boss Alexandre Gama is likely to be satisfied with the result which keeps his side unbeaten in the competition and keeps them firmly on course for the knockout round.

Gamba Osaka: Masaaki Higashiguchi, Koki Yonekura, Daiki Niwa, Keisuke Iwashita, Oh Jae-suk (Hiroki Fujihara 60’), Hiroyuki Abe, Yasuhito Endo, Tomokazu Myojin, Kotari Omori (Lins 74’), Patric, Takashi Usami (Shingo Akamine 81’).

Buriram United: Sivaruck Tedsungnoen, Chitipat Tanklang, Andres Tunez, Korawit Namwiset, Narubodin Weerawatnodom (Suree Sukha 61’), Prakit Deeprom (Surat Sukha 73’), Suchao Nutnum, Go Seul-ki, Theerathon Bunmathan, Gilberto Macena, Diogo.

Binh Duong handed third straight ACL defeat by Jeonbuk

Becamex Binh Duong’s AFC Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after they were beaten 3-0 by Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Group E on Tuesday evening.

Jeonbuk took the lead at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in the 16th minute after Eninho latched onto Leonardo’s searching pass to break free inside the box, before rifling an unstoppable shot into the back of the net.

Five minutes before the break, the hosts doubled their tally as Eninho turned provider by floating a cross from the left to the back post, where Lee Dong-gook proceeded to climb highest and score with a firm header that Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele was unable to keep out.

And any hopes Binh Duong had of mounting a late fightback were ended two minutes from time when Lee doubled his tally for the evening, pouncing on Au Van Hoan’s clearance and smashing a first-time shot into the bottom corner.

The defeat, Binh Duong’s third in a row, leaves them bottom of the group with no points to their name, while Jeonbuk move top of the table on seven points.

In Group E’s other match, Naoki Wako netted a 92nd-minute winner to hand Kashiwa Reysol a 2-1 triumph over Shandong Luneng Taishan, meaning the Japanese outfit find themselves in second place and are also on seven points.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors: Hong Jung-nam, Cho Sung-hwan, Alex Wilkinson, Lee Jae-moung, Lee Kyu-ro, Eninho (Lee Sang-hup 53’), Leonardo, Jung Hoon (Choi Chi-won 53’), Lee Jae-sung, Edu (Kim Dong-chan 78’), Lee Dong-gook.

Becamex Binh Duong: Nguyen Quoc Thien Esele, Au Van Hoan, Michal Nguyen, Dang Van Robert, Mai Tien Thanh (Le Tan Tai 65’), Moses Oloya, Nguyen Trong Hoang (Nguyen Tang Tuan 88’), Abass Chiekh Dieng, Nguyen Anh Duc (Trinh Quang Vinh 57’), David Vrankovic, Ganiyu Oseni.

Buriram claim second ACL win; Binh Duong defeated again

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

Group A

Bunyodkor 0-1 Persepolis

Lekhwiya 1-1 Al Nassr

Group B

Naft Tehran 1-1 Al Ain

Al Shabab 2-2 Pakhtakor

Group E

Shandong Luneng Taishan 1-4 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Kashiwa Reysol 5-1 Becamex Binh Duong

Group F

Seongnam FC 2-0 Gamba Osaka

Guangzhou R&F 1-2 Buriram United

Buriram open ACL campaign with win; Binh Duong defeated

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.