Beetles face tough task in ACL 'bubble'

Beetles face tough task in ACL 'bubble'

Chiang Rai's Ekanit Panya (right) plays against Muang Thong in Thai League 1 last week.
Chiang Rai's Ekanit Panya (right) plays against Muang Thong in Thai League 1 last week.

Thai League 1 champions Chiang Rai United resume their AFC Champions League campaign on Tuesday when they take on FC Seoul of South Korea.

All matches are being played in a "bubble" in Qatar.

Chiang Rai need a result to keep alive their slim hopes of advancing to the knockout stage, having lost to Melbourne Victory and Beijing FC in Group E before the tournament was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Beetles are playing catch up with the other teams in the group with Beijing on six points and Seoul and Melboure on three.

Chiang Rai warmed up for the ACL resumption with a 2-1 win against SCG Muang Thong United in Thai League 1 last Wednesday.

Their attack will be led Thailand midfielder Ekanit Panya and Brazilian strikers Bill Rosimar and Jakson Coelho.

Ekanit, 21, is in line to make his first appearance in the competition after missing his team's first two games due to injury.

"We know FC Seoul are a big team in Asia so it will be a very difficult task for us," Ekanit told the-afc.com.

"We have learned that it's important to defend well in the AFC Champions League because, if we don't, the other teams have the quality to punish us."

Chiang Rai captain Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul said: "It's quite tough to play four games in 10 days but we have no choice and we just need to fight to give our best for the team.

"In the first two matches, we had chances and didn't take them but our opponents turned their chances into goals. These are distinct differences compared to the Thai league and the small details are important.

"I want to help Chiang Rai get good results in Qatar and, of course, it's the aim to advance to the next round. We know we'll create history for the club if we do it."

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