#AFCChampionsLeague2017 preview for Hyundai A-League clubs

Adelaide United's Kim Jae-sun, Wanderers' Terry Antonis and Brisbane Roar's Brandon Borrello.

Monday, 24 April 2017

John Duerden @JohnnyDuerden
The ACL returns this week. How will Roar do in Thailand ahead of Sunday’s blockbuster with Victory in Melbourne? The revitalised Reds and Wanderers are also in action.

Muangthong United vs Brisbane Roar (Wed night)

If there were those in Korea Republic, Japan and Australia who underestimated the Thailand Premier League champions when the draw was made, they are doing so no longer.

With four games of the six down and two to go, Muangthong is top of the group with eight points. A win at their compact stadium will secure a place in the last 16 and even a draw could be enough.

“We know what we have to do,” said Muangthong head coach Totchawan Sripan at the weekend. “We also know that the game will be very difficult and that Brisbane is a good team.”

The Kirins have plenty of talent with a number of stars who play for the Thailand national team. Chanathip Songkrasin gave the Caltex Socceroos some major headaches in Bangkok in November as two nations played out a 2-2 draw in qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Brisbane Roar and Muangthong United played out a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Stadium on Tuesday night.

The diminutive playmaker is off to Japan soon and helping Muangthong to the knockout stage would be a welcome parting gift. There is also sharpshooter Teerasil Dangda and two of the best full-backs in Asia in Tristan Do and Theerathon Bunmathan, who scored a spectacular free-kick on Saturday.

One plus for Brisbane is that influential midfielder Sarach Yooyen is injured and will not play.

That has not been a problem domestically as the champion has won eight and drawn one of the ten games so far, the latest being a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw at Ratchaburi.

The one defeat was inflicted by Buriram United where Muangthong, accustomed to dictating proceedings, were in the unusual position of being put on the backfoot and struggled.

That could provide some encouragement for an experimental Brisbane who have one eye on Sunday’s blockbuster semi final with Victory, and a trip to Thailand these days is a tough ask.

Just ask the national team.

Urawa Reds vs Western Sydney Wanderers (Wed night)

Six points behind with just two games remaining, Western Sydney Wanderers need nothing less than a win but it is not going to be easy. Far from it.

Urawa needs just a draw to be certain of a place in the knockout stage but head coach Mihailo Petrovic said Saturday that he is targeting a win.

The Reds have reason to be confident. There can’t be a tougher assignment in Asia this week than Wanderers’ trip to Saitama Stadium just north of Tokyo.

Urawa is back to the kind of best that took the team to the top of Japanese football in 2006 and a continental title the following year.

The Wanderers' Kearyn Baccus flies high for a header against Urawa on Tuesday night.

Incredibly, neither feat has been repeated but this year could be the one. The Reds are top of the J.League and is on course to win the title that many think it deserved in 2016.

A 3-2 win on Saturday over Consadole Sapporo in front of 37,000 fans was the fifth successive win in all competitions.

In Asia, Urawa has nine points from four games, recovering from the 3-2 loss at Shanghai SIPG on Matchday 3 to defeat the cash rich Chinese club at home last time around.

Yet Urawa, who let a ten point lead at the top of the 2007 J. League slip with five games remaining, will know that it is not over until it is over.

At the very least for the 2014 continental champion, there is the 4-0 home loss in the opening game in February to avenge for coach Tony Popovic and his men.

Not to mention banishing the bitter disappointment last Friday night in Brisbane, when their domestic season ended in heart-breaking circumstances.

Gamba Osaka vs Adelaide United (Tue night)

If the other two games feature Hyundai A-League teams that are at the bottom of their groups travelling to the home of the leaders, this Group H clash is different.

Adelaide looked down and out with just a few minutes remaining in Matchday 3.

A loss at home to Jeju United would have almost certainly spelled the end of their hopes. Yet the Reds fought back to a 3-3 draw and then went to Korea Republic to defeat the islanders on their own soil.

The victory put the team second, level on points with Jeju and one ahead of Gamba. Should Adelaide win in Japan and Jeju lose in China at the already-qualified Jiangsu Suning then the Australians  are through.

Adelaide United and Gamba Osaka players ahead of kick-off in their ACL opener on Wednesday night.

It won’t be easy. Gamba Osaka famously defeated United in the final of the 2008 tournament and after winning 3-0 at the Hindmarsh Stadium in the opening game,will be confident.

More so after a 6-0 thrashing of Omiya Ardija on Friday – giving the hosts an extra rest day – put the Kansai club up into second.

What was impressive was how all six goals came from different players.

Yet Adelaide can’t be written off. With the ACL their only remaining competition to play for, they’ll be refreshed and ready as they finished their domestic season on April 15 after missing out on the Finals Series.

Gamba has lost both home games so far in the group, most notably a 4-1 loss to Jeju and the Reds can have hope of staying in the hunt for the last 16 and also a little revenge for 2008.

Source : Football Federation Australia

Brisbane Roar and Muangthong United played out a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Stadium on Tuesday night

Brisbane Roar and Muangthong United played out a 0-0 draw at Brisbane Stadium on Tuesday night.

A weary Brisbane Roar have been forced to settle for a point after being held to a 0-0 draw against Thai outfit Muangthong United in their opening AFC Champions League clash on Tuesday night.

After a hectic schedule over the past month, Brisbane were stretched at times against their energetic opponents with keeper Jamie Young forced into some crucial interventions.

Muangthong started brightly and looked threatening in the opening period with Xisco and Adison Promrak forcing Young into a pair of superb reflex saves.

The hosts worked their way into the contest and went close to taking the lead just prior to the break with Nicholas D’Agostino’s strike pushed onto the post by Kawin Thamsatchanan.

The game opened up after the break and it was the visitors who created the better of the chances with Xisco wasting two clear-cut opportunities early in the second period.

Manuel Arana and Jack Hingert went close for the hosts in the second-half but failed to break the deadlock as both sides finished with a hard-earned point.

KEY MOMENT

With his team under extreme pressure in the opening half, Roar keeper Jamie Young pulled off an incredible reflex save to keep the score locked at 0-0. Muangthong’s Adison Promrak looked certain to score with a point blank header before Young rose brilliantly to parry the ball over the bar.

Re-live the match action on Twitter

@brisbaneroar, @TheAFCCL, @MuangthongUtd

 

 

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Melbourne Victory reach ACL group stage with comeback win

Saturday, 15 February 2014 9:46 PM

Victory reach ACL group stage with comeback win

A late strike from Leigh Broxham has sent Melbourne Victory into the AFC Asian Champions League (ACL) group stage after a 2-1 win over Muangthong United at Simonds Stadium in Geelong on Saturday night.

Broxham scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute, collecting the ball after Muangthong had cleared a Victory corner, before rifling his shot past the visiting goalkeeper with the help of a deflection.

After surviving the opening 20 minutes – more by luck than design – Muangthong had taken the lead when Mario Durovski’s corner went straight into the net, evading both Victory fullback Scott Galloway at the near post and goalkeeper Nathan Coe.

Melbourne’s best chance to equalise in the first half came on the stroke of half-time but captain Mark Milligan failed to convert a penalty.

However, second-half goals from James Troisi and Broxham saw Victory recover and earn a berth in the ACL group stage for the fourth time in the club’s history.

Melbourne started brightly and should have taken the lead in the eighth minute only for Tom Rogic to head wide.

Muangthong then gave the hosts an idea of the threat they would pose on the counter-attack throughout the match, when Teerasil Dangda got in behind Victory’s defence but he scuffed his shot wide.

Victory continued to dominate but struggled to seriously test the Thai club’s goalkeeper Visanusak Kaewruang regularly enough.

And Kevin Muscat’s men were punished for their lack of cutting edge when Durovski curled his corner over Galloway’s head and inside the near post in the 22nd minute with Coe stranded behind an opposition player.

The half ended in farcical circumstances as Victory were awarded a penalty after Archie Thompson was knocked over in the box by Piyaphon Buntao.

Referee Masaaki Toma from Japan showed Piyaphon both a yellow and a red card, mistakenly believing the defender had already been booked, but quickly rescinded the sending off when reminded of his era by several Muangthong players

Milligan then stabbed his spot kick low to Visanusak’s left hand but it lacked power and the visiting goalkeeper held onto the ball.

The drama did not end there either with the referee’s whistle for half-time being temporarily mistaken by Victory as the signal for a re-take.

Muangthong should have doubled their lead just after the break but Teerasil failed to convert a one-on-one opportunity, while Durovski’s fizzing volley soon after was tipped wide by Coe.

Victory took advantage of those two misses in the 58th minute when Troisi timed his run perfectly to get onto Galloway’s cross and headed the ball into the roof of the net.

Melbourne continued to push throughout the second half but missed a hatful of chances and the match seemed destined for extra time, until Broxham’s late heroics saw Victory progress.

To add insult to injury, Muangthong ended the game with 10 players after their captain Datsakorn Thonglao was sent off for head-butting Broxham in the final minute.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Troisi 58 Broxham 83)

Muangthong United 1 (Durovski 22)

Crowd: 8304 @ Simonds Stadium

Source : Football Federation Australia

ACL Preview: Melbourne Victory v Muangthong United

Friday, 14 February 2014 10:30 PM

Melbourne Victory.svg

Melbourne Victory and Muangthong United will meet in Round 3 of the 2014 AFC Asian Champions League qualifying play-offs at Simonds Stadium on Saturday, February 15 at 7.45pm AEDT.

Head-to-head:

N/A (first meeting of the two clubs)

Form:

Past five matches

Victory: WDLLW

Muangthong: WDDWW

The Game:

Consecutive wins have been a struggle for Melbourne Victory all season but with a spot in the AFC Asian Champions League (ACL) group stage on offer, the Big V will be desperate to change that on Saturday night. Melbourne have only managed to win two games in a row twice this season and have just two victories in their past eight matches. As much as last week’s 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners will give Kevin Muscat’s side confidence, their A-League championship credentials will again take a battering if they lapse against Muangthong United.

While Victory have argued the ACL is a priority, it is hard to imagine Muscat will be relishing the concept of a tricky one-off play-off versus a relatively unknown opponent. But in a positive for Melbourne’s head coach, Muangthong are not in fantastic form.

The runners-up from the 2013 Thai Premier League season have played just two competitive matches since the league campaign ended at the start of November. Muangthong knocked off Vietnam’s Ha Noi T&T 2-0 last week in another ACL play-off, while they lost the annual Kor Royal Cup 1-0 to Buriram United at the start of February. The Kor Royal Cup is the traditional season-opener of Thailand’s football season, pitting the champions of the Premier League and FA Cup against each other, and Muangthong should have lost by even more as Buriram had three goals ruled out during the contest.

Muangthong’s head coach Scott Cooper will bring a strong squad to Simonds Stadium, however, with former English Premier League striker Jay Bothroyd to lead the line alongside Thai goal-machine Teerasil Dangda. If Victory are not at the top of their game, their ACL campaign will be over before it really begins.

The big issue:

Victory – If Melbourne are to reach the ACL group stage for the fourth time, they must be more clinical in the front third. Victory have failed to make the most of possession and goal-scoring opportunities in the A-League this season. Before last week’s win over the Mariners, only two teams had taken more shots than Victory this term, while Melbourne’s accuracy (44.9 per cent before) saw them in the bottom four of the league. In a cut-throat play-off, clear chances in front of goal will be rare, which will put a lot of pressure on the likes of James Troisi and Archie Thompson to convert.

Muangthong – Can the Thais win outside south-east Asia? In 10 previous ACL matches, Muangthong have only won or drawn playing in Thailand and Vietnam. Last year was the first time Muangthong competed in the group stage, having failed to get through the play-offs on two previous occasions. After claiming a draw in front of the own fans against Jeonbuk Motors, Muangthong lost the rest of their games, conceding 10 goals in three matches away from home. Cooper will have to find a way to cure his team’s homesickness if they are to overcome Victory.

The game breaker:

Datsakorn Thonglao – The hopes of the visitors in Geelong will surely rest on the shoulders of captain Thonglao. The 30-year-old attacking midfielder has played 112 matches for Muangthong since joining in 2009, while he has also represented Thailand 96 times. At just 169 centimetres, Thonglao is not physically imposing but his long-range passing and ability from set pieces make him a dangerous opponent. Thonglao will run the show in midfield for Muangthong and if Victory’s holding midfield duo can keep him quiet, the Big V will have a big chance of winning.

Prediction:

Muangthong’s poor record outside south-east Asia and the fact they have yet to commence the new Thai Premier League season, means this match is there for the taking, as far as Victory are concerned. Muscat’s men put in their best performance in a month in Gosford last week, and they should be close to full-strength against Muangthong.

While Gui Finkler has not been picked in the squad due to limits on international players, Melbourne’s skipper Mark Milligan should be ready to start for the first time since he had knee surgery in January and Kosta Barbarouses (ankle) is expected to play a part, more than likely off the bench. With James Troisi (two goals) and Archie Thompson (one) finding some form in front of goal versus the Mariners, and Tom Rogic starting to settle, the signs are good for Victory.

Defensive focus and respect for the opponents will be key for Melbourne. Australian clubs have regularly been stunned in the ACL when they have underestimated their opposition. Last season, Brisbane Roar failed to reach the group stage after a play-off loss to Buriram, and Victory could face a similar fate if they take it easy in Geelong. Muangthong have quality imports in the likes of Bothroyd and Macedonian international Mario Gjurovski, while Dangda (86 goals in 181 games for Muangthong since 2009) is arguably Thailand’s best player and is set to join La Liga outfit Almeria next season.

 

Source : Football Federation Australia

Buriram back on top in Thailand

Published on Monday, 02 September 2013 10:28

Bangkok: Buriram United moved back into top spot in the Thai Premier League standings as the AFC Champions League quarter-finalists earned a 2-1 win over Osotspa on Sunday.

With defending champions Muangthong United held to a draw by Police United on Saturday, Buriram knew they could move back to the summit with victory on Sunday and, they did so thanks to goals from Carmelo Gonzalez and Oscar Barba.

Gonzalez, the Thai Premier League’s leading scorer, gave Buriram the lead after just eight minutes but Osotspa pulled level through Apipoo Suntornpanavej in the 52nd minute. But Barba’s 56th minute penalty earned Buriram all three points.

Buriram lost the first leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-final in Tehran 1-0 to Esteghlal and will host the second leg in Thailand on September 18.