Buriram hold Chinese giants
Buriram United celebrated their return to the AFC Champions League yesterday with a 1-1 draw at Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G opener.
The Thai League 1 champions were heading for a loss before second-half substitute Edgar cancelled out the advantage Guangzhou Evergrande had gained through an early header by Brazilian Ricardo Goulart.
The Chinese Super League champions went on the attack from the start with Ricardo forming an effective partnership with Alan Carvalho in the offence but Buriram defenders held their ground.
Ricardo narrowly missed a header and a few moments later the Brazilian found the net but only to see teammate Gao Lin caught offside.
The Thunder Castle were mainly pinned to their own half but Guangzhou finally succeeded in piercing through their defence wall and a short Li Xuepeng cross was headed home by Ricardo in the 16th minute.
After conceding the goal, Buriram came out of their shell and started attacking with striker Diogo Luis Santo firing a shot wide.
The hosts had another chance from Alan but his shot missed the target before Buriram goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen denied him again in the 31st minute.
During the last 10 minutes of the first half, Buriram launched several attacks but could not find an equaliser as Guangzhou went into the break with 1-0 lead.
A few seconds into the second half, Buriram nearly equalised but Diogo’s chip missed the goal by a whisker following an assist by Edgar, who replaced Supachok Sarachart after half-time.
The Thunder Castle equalised when Korrakot Wiriya-udomsiri’s free-kick was tapped home by Edgar from close range in the 57th minute.
Guangzhou tried to pile the pressure on the Thai club and nearly scored their second goal but their captain Gao’s shot was deflected by a Buriram defender.
The Thai champions had their chance in the closing stages as well when Diogo crossed the ball, but Sasalak Haiprakhon’s header hit the post. Sasalak replaced Jakkraphan Kaewprom in the second half.
Guangzhou Evergrande’s Ricardo Goulart, right, vies with Buriram’s Pansa Hemviboon.