Monday, April 2, 2012

ACL & AFC Cup Matchday 3 - Preview

AFC Champions League - Group H
Kashiwa Reysol v Guangzhou Evergrande
Buriram United v Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

The records of Buriram United and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors going into matchday 3, has one team with two wins and six points leading the group, and the other pointless after two back-to-back 5-1 maulings. If you'd asked any Asian football experts prior to Group H commencing which team would have which record, then about 95% of them would have envisioned that the South Korean side would be at the crest of the group and not pre-tournament underdogs, Buriram United.
Nevertheless, the last thing Buriram should do is to gaze at the league table and become complacent. They've earned their top placing through great team spirit and determination. If the Thunder Castle can show the same vigour that they have in their first two outings, then beating last year's AFC Champions League runners up is highly likely.
Jeonbuk have similarly had a woeful start to their domestic offensive as they bid to regain the K-League title. Last time out in the K-League they threw away a two goal lead conceding three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game to lose 3-2 to Daegu FC.
The Motor company have ex Middlesbrough striker Lee Dong Gook who despite having a lean time in England is the K-League's all-time top scorer.
The other two sides in Group H, Kashiwa Reysol and Guangzhou Evergrande, both have 3 points and from Buriram's perspective a share of the points would be an satisfactory outcome.

AFC Cup  - Group G
Chonburi v Citizen AA
Yangon United v Home United

A victory for Chonburi over Hong Kong's Citizen AA would give the Sharks a 4 point cushion on third place regardless of what the result is between Yangon United and Home United.
Chonburi are still unbeaten this year although they'll have been bitterly disappointed to have lost an injury time equalizer to TOT in the TPL last Saturday. 
Citizen AA earned their place in the AFC Cup as a result of winning the Hong Kong Senior Challenge shield in 2010-2011. The 10 team Hong Kong First Division is currently at the tail end of its 2011-2012 season with Citizen AA sitting in 5th place and well out of the title race.
Yangon and Home United both lost a fortnight ago on matchday 2. Yangon only have one point and failure to beat Home United would leave the Burmese side staring at an early exit from the cup.

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