Asian Champions League review

Buriram United make last-16

May 1, 2013

Thailand will have a representative in the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League for the first time in a decade after Buriram United snatched a 2-2 draw at FC Seoul.

Buriram twice came from behind with midfielder Theerathon Bunmathan's late free-kick edging them into the last 16 ahead of Jiangsu Sainty, who had won 2-1 at Vegalta Sendai.

The last Thai side to get out of the group stage were BEC Tero Sasana in 2003 under the stewardship of current Buriram boss Attaphol Buspakom.

Attaphol's side had to ride their luck though with Carmelo Gonzalez missing a first half penalty before Seoul, who had already secured their passage, went ahead through Jung Seung-yong shortly after the break.

Buriram almost immediately equalised for the first time through Ekkachai Samre and while Kim Hyun-sung put the hosts back ahead Bunmathan's inswinging free-kick eluded everyone. That meant Jiangsu were tipped out on goal difference despite their win in Sendai.

Vegalta, who would have gone through with a win themselves, had led after Naoki Sugai's header but the Chinese hit back with Liu Jianye and Hamdi Salihi on target. Sendai's Brazilian midfielder Wilson and Jiangsu defender Ren Hang both saw red late on.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors booked their last-16 place with a nervy goalless draw at already-qualified Guangzhou Evergrande.

The Koreans' point meant Urawa Red Diamond's 1-0 win at Muangthong United was not enough as they bowed out with an inferior head-to-head record. Daisuke Nasu's second-half volley secured Urawa's win.

Lekhwiya and Al-Shabab progressed from Group B after both claimed vital wins. All four teams in the group could have gone through but Qatari side Lekhwiya ensured they topped the group with a 2-0 win over Al-Ittifaq. Ceara Luiz (11) and Khalid Muftah (66) grabbed the goals.

Al-Shabab started the day bottom of the group and with a tough trip to Tashkent, but Jociel Ciel's 64th-minute strike sent them through with a 2-1 win over Pakhtakor. Esam Dhahi sent the visitors ahead after a minute before a 19th-minute Kakhi Makharadze penalty levelled the contest.

Ciel sent Al-Shabab ahead before they were forced to see out the last five minutes with 10 men after Mohammed Marzouq saw red.

Al Shabab and El Jaish, whose progress was already guaranteed, both rounded off their Group A campaigns with victories.

Pool winners Al Shabab battled from a goal down to sink Al-Jazira 2-1. Ibrahim Diaky put the visitors ahead just before the half-hour mark but Nasser Al-Shamrani levelled in the first minute of the second half and substitute Fahad Amad Al-Yamani grabbed an 80th-minute winner. The campaign ended on a sour note for Al-Jazira, who had Khalid Sabeel sent off in the final minute.

El Jaish also found themselves a goal down but responded well to post a 4-2 success at Teraktor Sazi FC, who finished bottom of the standings on four points from six games.

Al-Doukali Side (penalty) and Abdulgadir Bakur netted in the first six minutes of the restart, to overturn Geilson's early opener for the hosts. And, although Geilson equalised midway through the second half, a Bakur spot-kick restored the visitors' lead before Ko Seul-Ki's strike six minutes from time sealed matters.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report