Buriram revel in ACL progress

Buriram United continued to follow in the footsteps of AFC Champions League inaugural finalists BEC Tero Sasana by reaching the quarter-finals of the current campaign following a scoreless draw at Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor for a 2-1 aggregate win on Tuesday night.

Buriram United’s Teerathon Bunmathon, right, vies with Bunyodkor’s Marko Blazic.

With a 2-1 home win in the first leg, the Thai FA Cup champions produced a resolute defensive display to frustrate the two-time semi-finalists.

After the Thunder Castle became the first Thai team to reach the ACL quarter-finals since BEC lost in the 2003 final, their chairman Newin Chidchob said his men could become one of Asia's top teams.

"We are strong enough to become a top-10 team in Asia," said Newin.

"The win is for Thai fans and our supporters. It is also a birthday present for my wife [Karuna]."

Newin praised his players for their professionalism but warned them not to get carried away.

He added: "Thai football is not an underdog to any team in Asia now. Today, we fought for our country and Buriram United."

Buriram coach Scott Cooper, who replaced Atthaphol Puspakom at the end of the group stage, said his team had chances to score but failed to find the back of the net.

"I am pleased with the way we defended," he said.

"Bunyodkor are a good team and they have good players. I am not sure why they were unable to win at home in the AFC Champions League. Sometimes you only need one shot to score, sometimes 20 shots are not enough. I have nothing bad to say about the way Bunyodkor played and they have a good coach."

Bunyodkor had drawn all three home games in the group stage and a fourth saw last year's semi-finalists suffer a last 16 exit for a third time in four years.

Bunyodkor coach Mirdjajal Kasimov said: "It's a shame that we could not win. We had chances to win but Buriram played well defensively. We only have ourselves to blame for the result."

RESULTS
(Last 16, second leg)

At Kashiwa: Kashiwa Reysol (JPN) 3 (Hirofumi Watanabe 42, Jorge Wagner 51, Masato Kudo 69) Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (KOR) 2 (Tatsuya Masushima 22-OG, Kevin Oris 86)

Kashiwa win 5-2 on aggregate

At Guangzhou: Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN) 3 (Muriqui 7, Dario Conca 45+1, Gao Lin 68) Central Coast Mariners (AUS) 0

Guangzhou win 5-1 on aggregate

At Seoul: FC Seoul (KOR) 3 (Adilson 61, Yun Il-Lok 70, Koh Myong-Jin 90+4) Beijing Guoan (CHN) 1 (Freddie Kanoute 8)

FC Seoul win 3-1 on aggregate

At Tashkent: Bunyodkor (UZB) 0 Buriram United (THA) 0

Buriram win 2-1 on aggregate

At Sharayea: Al Ahli (KSA) 2 (Bruno Cesar 25, Mustafa al Bassass 38) El Jaish (QAT) 0

Al Ahli win 3-1 on aggregate

At Riyadh: Al Shabab (KSA) 3 (S.Tagliabue 34, 47, Nasser al Shamrani 90) Al Gharafa (QAT) 0

Al Shabab win 5-1 on aggregate

About the author

columnist
Writer: Tor Chittinand
Position: Reporter