Southeast Asia Thailand

Brinner’s Own Goal Deny Beetles Historic Win

Singha Chiangrai United were close to clinching a historic win over Gamba Osaka on Sunday’s AFC Champions League action, only for their three points to vanish in front of their own eyes after a second half own goal from Brinner forced the Beetles to share the points with Gamba in a 1-1 draw at Tashkent’s Lokomotiv Stadium. Group H’s other game in the Uzbek capital saw a much-changed Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors side thrashing Tampines Rovers 4-0 at the Bunyodkor Stadium.

Tampines Rovers (Singapore) 0-4 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (South Korea)

Tampines were out to banish their Jeonbuk demons at the Bunyodkor Stadium on Sunday, with the first meeting between the Stags and the 2-time ACL winners ending in a 9-0 demolition job in favor of Jeonbuk. The Eastern Singaporeans were given further hope after Jeonbuk head coach Kim Sang-sik made eight changes to his lineup, leaving behind Modou Barrow and Gustavo – the two having scored seven goals between them in that 9-0 win – on the bench.

Surprisingly, last year’s Singapore Premier League runners-up Tampines were able to keep up with Jeonbuk’s second-stringers despite the South Koreans taking early initiative, closing down space and setting themselves up defensively to soak up the pressure from the Green Warriors.

The Stags even managed to snag themselves the first meaningful chance of the game in the 27th minute. Yasir Hanapi managed to steal the ball off Jeonbuk captain Choi Young-jun before delivering a nicely-struck through ball to Armin Bosnjak, who managed to force Jeonbuk goalkeeper Hwang Byeong-gun into making a diving save with a low shot, with the ball being tipped behind for a corner by the keeper.

Jeonbuk retaliated in the 29th minute through both Han Kyo-won and Stanislav Iljutcenko, with the former testing Syazwan Buhari in the Tampines goal with a shot from inside the area, before the latter struck the post with the rebound after Buhari had deflected Kyo-won’s effort away.

There was no denying Russian striker Stanislav in the 36th minute though, as he managed to latch onto a cross from the left flank and looped in a header beyond Syazwan’s reaches.

Sang-sik deployed more of his big guns in the second half, having already thrown Gustavo into the fray in the 35th minute, the 44-year old head coach deployed Barrow and Lee Yong during half-time.

Tampines threatened an equalizer in the 56th minute after Boris Kopitovic had managed to ease himself into the Jeonbuk defense and rifled in a shot that agonizingly missed its target, however the Stags’ efforts in chasing for an equalizer was ground to a sudden halt in the 60th minute. Tampines captain Yasir was sent off by the referee following an awful foul on Paik Seung-ho that earned him a second yellow card and with it, his marching orders.

Jeonbuk capitalized on the extra-man advantage and they made it 2-0 in the 64th minute. Gustavo managed to met a cross from fellow substitute Yong with a blistering first-time finish that left Syazwan stranded.

The South Koreans weren’t done there though and in the 73rd minute, Stanislav managed to force a save from Syazwan, before the rebound fell into the possession of Gustavo who smacked his effort against the crossbar. Third time’s the charm for Jeonbuk though and Barrow managed to bundle home the rebound past Syazwan to make it 3-0 Jeonbuk.

An impressive Stanislav then wrapped up his brace and all three points for Jeonbuk in the 75th minute. Receiving a pass from Seung-ho, Stanislav curled home a powerful shot that once again left Syazwan utterly beaten, pretty much killing off the contest there and then.

Jeonbuk’s second resounding win over their Singaporean opponents meant that they remain in sole control of Group H with three wins and a draw after four games, while Tampines are as good as out with four losses to their name.

Gamba Osaka (Japan) 1-1 Singha Chiangrai United (Thailand)

Meanwhile at the Lokomotiv Stadium, Chiangrai couldn’t have asked for a better start as they went ahead against fancied Gamba after just six minutes. Felipe Amorim managed to latch onto the ball provided to him by captain Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul, before slamming home an explosive volley past Gamba goalkeeper Masaaki Higashiguchi.

Fielding their usual heavyweights in Kosuke Onose, Takashi Usami, and Yosuke Ideguchi, Gamba found themselves unable to break into Chiangrai’s notoriously stubborn defense. The men from Suita had even scored an equalizer after Leandro Pereira had stolen the ball off goalkeeper Apirak Worawong, however the goal was ruled out for offside.

Chiangrai were not without their fair share of chances as well, with Bill going the closest with a volley that went over the crossbar.

The Beetles’ hopes of pulling off an upset were dashed in the 54th minute, however, after Shinya Yajima managed to fire a shot that was deflected into Apirak’s goal by Brinner.

Immediately after Gamba’s equalizer the two sides began to trade blows once again in search of a winning goal. The introduction of Ekanit Panya, replacing Felipe, provided Chiangrai with an additional edge in attack, with Bill threatening the Gamba defense consistently.

J.League 1 strugglers Gamba had the final say in this match though, as they went close to nicking a winner twice during the closing stages. Chiangrai had Apirak to thank as the Beetles’ custodian remained alert throughout the match, denying both Yosuke and Genta Miura as the two sides were forced to share the spoils yet again.

With Tampines already down and out, it’s a 3-way race for a ticket (or two) out of Group H. Gamba had the simplest of assignments as they take on winless Tampines on July 7th at the Bunyodkor Stadium, while Chiangrai faced the unenviable task of taking on group leaders Jeonbuk at the Lokomotiv Stadium on the same day. Chiangrai must beat Jeonbuk if they wish to be in contention to become one of the three best runners-up and should they lose to the South Koreans and Gamba beat Tampines, the Beetles will be eliminated from the ACL.