Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Buriram Utd 1-2 Esteghlal (agg 1-3)

Brave Buriram United put up a gallant effort as their AFC Champions League adventure came to an end. The Thai league leaders dominated the opening 45 minutes but a second half fightback from Estaghlal saw them win 2-1.

Buriram were trailing 1-0 from the first leg and they started the second leg with no recognized striker. That left them with no focal point upfront and their best attacking threats came down the flanks in the opening period. Suree's low cross from the right caused panic in the visitor's box before it was eventually cleared. Suchao was then blocked out as he tried to connect with Jakkrapan's deflected cross from the other wing.

At the other end, Siwaruk got his body behind a stinging effort from Andranik in the fifth minute, but apart from that he was a spectator for the first 45 minutes.

The 1-0 first leg advantage for the Iranian side was wiped out in the 37th minute when an unmarked Osmar rose highest to nod home Jirawat's corner. There was no doubting that the Thai side bossed the first period as they took a one goal advantage into the break. 

The visitors changed their formation and brought on captain Farhad Majidi for the second half. The sub came close with a header shortly after his introduction as Esteghlal looked more lively.

In the 53rd minute Esteghlal got the crucial away goal that they were looking for. Omranzadeh outjumped Suree at the back post to head home a precise cross from Andranik.

Fahrad almost scored a spectacular overhead kick five minutes later but Osmar was in the right position to block.

The game lulled for 15 minutes as the Iranian side sat back to defend their advantage. Buriram pushed Osmar forward and he tested Rahmati with a shot from the edge of the box. Minutes later the big Spaniard had another free header from a corner but this time it was deflected wide.

In injury time, Esteghlal won the game on the night when Andranik lashed in a screamer from 35 yards. Siwaruk had no chance as it ended 3-1 on aggregate

Esteghlal will now meet FC Seoul in the semi final next Wednesday. On tonight's evidence they don't appear good enough to be the champions of Asia but they'll fancy their chances against FC Seoul.

For Buriram it's been a major achievement reaching the last 8 of the competition. Tonight if they'd had a proper attacking outlet, it could have been a different story. It's now back to the bread and butter of the TPL and a trip to Army United on Sunday.

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