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AFC Champions League: Stage is set for Buriram

AFC Champions League
For the first time since 2008 a Club from Thailand enters the group stage of AFC's elite competition. This Wednesday Buriram United is going to enter international stage for the first time and with the club the picturesque new i-mobile stadium.

With Kashiwa Reysol, Thailand's Champion is facing a team which could get right away win the domestic title in Japan as a promoted side in a gripping season final. This entitled Kashiwa to participate in the FIFA™ Club world championships in December 2011 and eventually losing to Al-Sadd in a third place play-off match after penalties. On his way to the semi finals, Reysol was able to beat Auckland City FC as well as Mexican representative CF Monterrey, before getting beat by Neymars FC Santos.

The clubs big times, who was founded already in 1940 are laying back awhile. Till last season, the teams one and only domestic league title could be won in the 70's under the name of Hitachi Soccer Club, as well as the Emperor's Cup (1972 and 1975). After Kashiwa was relegated in 2009, it bounced back winning the J-League 2 and the J-League in 2011.

Brazilian midfielder Jorge Wagner and Leandro Domingues contributed their part decisively on recent success. The first already came to champion's honor with Sao Paulo and Lokomoitve Moscow and also won the Copa Libertadores. His compatriot Domingues was elected "Most Valuable Player" and "Player of the Year" of the past J-League season. Both scored for Reysol last weekend against Tokyoa FC and helped to win the Japanese Supercup. Besides both Brazilians, Naoki Kondo and Hiroki Satai were chosen for the J-League Eleven 2011. Satai additionally has been awarded as "Best Young Player".

With forward Hideaki Kitajima Buriram's opponent is equipped of an experienced player who is rather dangerous particularly in the air and can transform corner kicks and crosses from Wagner. The "Sun Kings" are coached by the Brazilian Nelsinho Baptista, since 2009 in charge. In his vita clubs like Corinthians, Flamengo, Sao Paulo and Colo-Colo cane be found.

For the first time since a felt eternity, Buriram will head into a competitive match as Underdog. You hardly can speak about a preparation at the game or even the new TPL season which is due to start mid March. The 2011 season just came to end in January, as everybody knows. On 18 February Buriram had to play the Premier Cup followed by a Laos tour and the World Cup qualifier in Oman last week.

However, coach Attaphol Buspakom did not need to integrate much new players. Pratum Chuthong of Osotspa and the Uzbek Asqar Jadigerov are the only really new entries. Since the other fives are moved in from Buriram FC. One knows one another. The only considerably departure is Rangsan Viwatchaichok who moved out to BEC-Tero. Tensely one may look forward how Buriam deals with the new 3+1 foreign player rule. Because last year the game of the champion pretty much relied on five Africans.

For Buriram United it is the first big appearance on international stage. Nevertheless not for some players and to all the head Coach "Tak" Attaphol Buspakom. The forementioned new arrival Jadigerov played five matches with Bunyodkor in the Champions League season 2011. For Surat Sukha it will be already his third appearance after playing at this stage with Chonburi in 2008 and Melbourne Victory in 2010. Buriram's current boss lead Thai side BEC-Tero to a surprising final birth of AFC Elite competition in 2003. At least he hopes his current side will not get smashed like Krung Thai Bank in 2008 when he was in charge off. At that time Krung Thai Bank FC lost it's group stage opener against Kashima Antlers by 1-9.

"Spot on" not only for Buriram United, no, also and in particular for the stadium. The venue is without doubt the best one what Thailand has to offer at the moment and is worthy to stage Champions League. Therefore it is almost understandably that the AFC "bends" her own regulation a bit, regarding an international airport, which is missed near Buriram. However, not only the Asian Federation is glad about the stadium, also many fan's from other countries are looking forward to see it in action. During the competition, by the way, the stadium officially is not be called "i-mobile". FIFA greets. To the followers of Buriram this might makes no difference. They will flock out in numbers to support their team.

The match is going to be on Thai-TV,  true Sport 3. Kick-off is at 18:30.

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