Football Tribe SEA Editor
Buriram United’s AFC Champions League campaign is left hanging by a thread after their 2-0 loss against Chinese side Beijing Guoan on Wednesday evening.
The Thai Champions came into the game on poor form, having recently drawn with newly-promoted Trat FC in the league over the weekend. Meanwhile, Beijing Guoan came into the match in fine form. The ‘Imperial Guards’ sat top of the Chinese Super League, having won each of their opening 6 games, conceding only a single goal in the process.
Regardless of the wide disparity in form, Bozidar Bandovic’s Buriram dug their heels in and stood up to Asia’s best, as they have so many times in the past. With three players born in 1998 and only two foreigners on the pitch, this weakened Thunder Castle side looked determined to emulate the successes of years past despite the long odds.
Beijing struggled to break past the disciplined Buriram defense for the entirety of the first half, as the visitors’ resolute back five managed to quell each of the hosts’ dangerous advances. Amid the torrid conditions at the Workers Stadium, neither side could get a foothold in the game, and most of Buriram’s counter-attacking attempts fizzled out without capable hold-up play. As such, the two sides went in level at the break.
The visitors started the second half as they ended the first, determined to dig out a point amid unlikely circumstances in the Chinese capital. However, their efforts were undermined when an attempted cross struck the arm of Sasalak Haiprakhon, giving Beijing the chance to take the lead from the spot. Captain Renato Augusto made no mistake from 12 yards, slotting the ball past the previously imperious Siwarak Tedsungnoen to give his side the lead just short of the hour mark.
Striker Cedric Bakambu had the chance to kill the game off just seconds later when he managed to get his foot on the end of an inviting cross, but Siwarak reacted in time to keep his side in the game.
However, the hosts did finally put the game to rest in the 76th minute, when a lobbed cross from Renato Augusto managed to find the head of Ba Dun at the back post. The substitute made no mistake from point-blank range wrap up all three points for his side.
This result sees Beijing Guoan leapfrog Urawa in the group standings, putting them second behind Jeonbuk. They will host the Korean champions in their next match, while Buriram will need to beat Urawa at the Chang Arena, and hope for favorable results elsewhere to maintain any hope of qualifying for the knockout stage.