AFC Champions League: Buriram still marching

AFC Champions League Scene, which lead to the penalty

Scene, which lead to the penalty
image: Thananuwat Srirasant

Buriram wins his second game in the AFC Champions League 2012. After a class performance the Thai side is leading Group H and cause further upset throughout Asia.

Guangzhou Evergrande was Buriram United's opponent on the second day of Group H. In consideration of the financial power of the host, the star players involved and the high-scoring victory of 5-1 over Jeonbuk Motor, Buriram again been left with the role of the underdog before the game. However, neither the home side played well as expected, nor the guests appeared like underdogs and operated like a rabbit caught in the headlights. In our match preview we wrote about of that Buriram need to play the same style of attacking football they did against Kashiwa two weeks before. And, indeed, the guests from Thailand were in the match right from the start.

Buriram's eleven went into the match really focused, without fear and for almost the whole playing time one had the feeling everybody knows exactly what his task is on the pitch.

Already after 15 minutes Buriram got two great opportunities on account, both coming from Frank Achempong. Guangzhou had to clear the balls even off the line once and above all disappointed during first half. Guangzhou boss Lee Jang-Soo was forced to made his first substitution of the game after 37 minutes, taking off Chinese international Zhang Linpeng. Against Achempong he was left with nothing and the Cameroon overran him with his quickness time after time. Though the playful-tactical means of Buriram limited itself mostly to long and deep passes through the seams of the defenders, or using the wings with Achempong, however, it paid off. Sivaruck between the sticks for Buriram looked a bit shaky with high balls, what would have led once almost to a great chance, but he also saved one brilliantly with a foot deflection.

In front of 40,000 spectators the home side got more into the game after the break. Chances arose on both sides but it was on the guests to took the lead. A long ball out of Buriram's own half provided by Ekwalla, reached Achempong. After he outpaced the defender and went into the penalty area, Yang Jun in the goal of Guangzhou was left with no other choice than to came out. While clearing the ball he slid into Achempong. The referee immediately awarded a penalty. At the end a 50:50 decision. Suchao Nuchnum converted from the spot with 61 minutes played.

Frank Achempong after he scored the winner

Achempong after he scored
image: Thananuwat Srirasant

Just 10 minutes later Cleo levelled with a header, after one of a rare good attacks by the Chinese side. Buriram neither was impressed nor content with the point and played on. While no big pressure could be noticed after the goal from Guangzhou Evergrande. In the 78 minute Ohandza made use of a mistake by the defense and his cross reached Achempong who just had to tap in for the final scoreline.

With the victory over the Chinese, Buriram succeeded something historical. Because never before a Thai club could win in China. And the last time a Thai side could achieve two wins in a row in Asians elite competition, is nine years back. Same as now, Attaphol Busphakom was in charge and like we all know BEC-Tero eventually made it to the final in 2003.

With six points out of two games Buriram leads the table and is facing bottom side Jeonbuk in two weeks. Then for the first time they might not be in the role of the underdog. Three more points out of this tie and chances to make it to the round of the last 16 are not to bad.

But in this case, we may run out of superlatives. No matter how ones opinion is about the club Buriram United and especially his owner, the performance of the team against the Chinese champion was outstanding. Kudos, Buriram United!!

Highlights of the game and a complete re-run if you like.
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