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


Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia to meet; Lions set for Japan duel

Three of Southeast Asia’s traditional heavyweights – Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia – will face off in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are they were all drawn in Group F on Tuesday.

The draw for the second round of qualification took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and saw a total of ten teams from Southeast Asia find out their path to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which will see each of them play eight matches from June to next March.

Apart from the World Cup, the qualifiers will also double up for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, which means Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia all stand an excellent chance of progressing to the continent’s biggest tournament.

Although Iraq are favourites to finish top of Group F, the trio of Southeast Asian countries will all fancy their prospects of fighting it out for second place, given the remaining team is minnows Chinese Taipei.

Over in Group E, Singapore and Cambodia both face a tricky route to the next round after being pitted against Asian giants Japan, Syria and Afghanistan.

Malaysia find themselves in Group A along with regional rivals Timor-Leste, although they will be aware they will have to get a result against either United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia or Palestine to have any chance of advancing to the Asian Cup.

Neighbours Myanmar and Laos will meet in Group G along with Korea Republic, Kuwait and Lebanon, while Philippines face Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Korea DPR and Yemen in Group H.

2018 FIFA World Cup Second Round Qualifying Draw

Group A: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Timor Leste, Malaysia

Group B: Australia, Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh

Group C: China, Qatar, Maldives, Bhutan, Hong Kong

Group D: Iran, Oman, India, Turkmenistan, Guam

Group E: Japan, Syria, Afghanistan, Singapore, Cambodia

Group F: Iraq, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei

Group G: Korea Republic, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Laos

Group H: Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Philippines, Korea DPR, Yemen

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.

Army fall to first defeat in TPL; shock loss for BK Glass

Army United missed the chance to reclaim top spot in the Thai Premier League on Sunday after being handed their first defeat of the season in a 3-1 loss to Osotspa.

Army were initially on course for victory at the Thai Army Sports Stadium when Ernesto Amantegui put them ahead in the 24th minute, but Addison Alves fired the visitors level four minutes into the second half.

Alves then struck again in the 75th minute to put Osotspa ahead, before Anthony Moura-Komenan found the back of the net with three minutes remaining to wrap up the three points for his side.

Like Army, Bangkok Glass also failed to overtake Suphanburi at the summit after falling to a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of TOT, who claimed their first win in six games in the process.

Noppol Pol-udom opened the scoring for the hosts at the TOT Stadium Chaeng Watthana a minute after the half-hour mark, and they edged  further ahead when Supakit Niamkong struck in the 60th minute.

The Glass Rabbits reduced the deficit in injury-time when Leandro Oliveira found the back of the net but it proved to be too little too late, as they slumped to their first loss of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Chonburi’s unconvincing start to 2015 continued as they had to come from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw against newly-promoted Nakhon Ratchasima at the Chonburi Stadium.

The Swat Cats opened the scoring after just six minutes when defender Parinya Utapao notched his third goal of the season, only for Juliano Mineiro to equalise for the hosts two minutes after the half-hour mark.

It then looked as though the visitors had stolen the win when Lee Tuck restored their lead in the 72nd minute, but with four minutes remaining, Chonburi skipper Pipob On-mo opened his account for 2015 with a trademark header to force the draw.

Finally, Ratchaburi were unable to make it two wins in a row as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chainat at the Dragons Arena.

Although Genki Nagasato had fired Ratchaburi ahead after three minutes, Alex netted seven minutes into the second half to level the scores for the visitors.

The Dragons then had a golden opportunity to win it when they were awarded a penalty with eight minutes remaining but the usually-prolific Heberty failed to convert from 12 yards, leaving both sides to settle for a share of the spoils.

Sunday’s Thai Premier League Results

Chonburi 2-2 Nakhon Ratchasima

Ratchaburi 1-1 Chainat

Army United 1-3 Osotspa

TOT 2-1 Bangkok Glass

Suphanburi down Muangthong; BEC Tero falter again

Suphanburi issued a real statement of intent in the Thai Premier League on Saturday after beating Muangthong United 2-1 at the Suphanburi Municipality Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, the hosts broke the deadlock in the 55th minute when Jakkapan Pornsai netted – his fifth goal in six matches – against his former club, before Indonesia international Sergio van Dijk doubled their lead three minutes later.

Muangthong pulled one back in the 71st minute when Mario Gjurovski netted with a powerful header but they were just unable to find an equaliser, and ultimately fell to their first defeat of the campaign.

The result was also enough to tentatively send Suphanburi top of the table, although both Army United and Bangkok Glass could overtake them with victories on Sunday.

Meanwhile, BEC Tero Sasana, who were tipped by many to challenge for top honours with their star-studded squad, continued to flatter to deceive as they lost 3-1 to Bangkok United at the Thai-Japanese Stadium.

Ekkachai Sumrei fired the hosts in front after 11 minutes and added a second six minutes after the half-hour mark, although BEC Tero captain Rangsan Viwatchaichok was able to reduce the deficit from the penalty spot six minutes before halftime.

Nonetheless, the Fire Dragons’ hopes of levelling the scores were dealt a real blow with five minutes remaining when left-back Peerapat Notechaiya was sent off for a second bookable offence, and Romain Gasmi went on to wrap up the three points for Bangkok United in injury-time when he was left with a simple tap-in for their third of the evening.

Saturday’s defeat means BEC Tero have won just one of their opening six matches and they could find themselves up to ten points off the pace by the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, Navy finally recorded their first win at the sixth time of asking after beating fellow new boys Saraburi 2-0 at the Sattahip Navy Stadium.

After opening the scoring for Navy in the 63rd minute, Paraguayan forward Anggello Machuca struck again with eight minutes left on the clock to seal the win for the hosts.

Finally, Sisaket got back to winning ways after recording a 2-1 triumph over struggling Port at the Sri Nakhon Lamduan Stadium.

Kittipong Wongma put Sisaket ahead after a lovely turn and finish in the 28th minute, before Lyuben Nikolov made it 2-0 with a close-range effort six minutes after the hour mark.

Port were able to reduce the arrears with a minute to go through a Rachanon Srinok strike, although it ultimately proved to be a mere consolation as their opponents went on to claim maximum points.

Buriram up to third after narrow win over Chiangrai

Defending champions Buriram United moved three spots up to third in the Thai Premier League after recording a hard-fought 1-0 win over Chiangrai United on Friday evening.

Theerathon Bunmathan broke the deadlock for the Thunder Castle at the United Stadium on the stroke of halftime, when he lined up a freekick on the edge of the box and sent a trademark effort into the back of the net.

The incident also saw the hosts reduced to ten men after Fernando Abreu was sent off for a second bookable offence, but Buriram were just unable to make the most of their numerical advantage in the second half.

Nonetheless, they ultimately did enough to claim maximum points and make it two wins in a row, as well as maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

The result also means Buriram are now just a point behind Army United and Bangkok Glass, although both teams now have a game in hand.

Chiangrai United: Intharat Apinyakool, Kiatprawut Saiwaeo, Fernando Abreu, Kazuki Murakami, Krissadee Prakobkong, Yuttajak Kornchan, Phichitphong Choeichiu, Renatinho, Renan Marques, Rungrath Poomchanteuk, Choklap Nilsang.

Buriram United: Sivaruck Tedsungnoen, Chitipat Tanklang, Andres Tunez, Korawit Namwiset, Anawin Jujeen, Prakit Deeprom, Suchao Nutnum, Go Seul-ki, Theerathon Bunmathan, Gilberto Macena, Diogo.