Thai side Muangthong United scored in injury time on Tuesday night to earn a last-gasp 2-1 win over Kashima Antlers in the AFC Champions League.
It was a night of celebration in Bangkok on Tuesday as Muangthong United recorded their first ever AFC Champions League group stage win, Spanish striker Xisco grabbing the winner at the death to give them a gritty 2-1 win over the Japanese champions and World Club Cup finalists.
FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the key talking points from an historic night.
Xisco sparks a disco
It was a night to remember for Spanish journeyman Xisco Jimenez, who endeared himself to Muangthong fans with the clinching goal, tapping in the winner four minutes into injury time after Tristan Do’s cross had been parried by the Kashima keeper. It capped an impressive, hardworking performance from the former Spain international, who is still only 30-years old. It’s a far cry from his time at Newcastle United, where he played just nine games for the club in five years in what was a disastrous spell in his otherwise impressive career. Xisco showed against Kashima that he has managed to turn things around since then – and how!
94' GOAL!!! 2-1 @MuangthongUtd!!!!
— FOX Sports Football (@FOXSportsFC) February 28, 2017
A strong start key
Muangthong came out of the blocks strongly could have been two or three goals to the good were it not for some wasteful finishing and last ditch defending from the Japanese side. Kashima did come back into the game as the first half progressed and were arguably the better side for large parts of the second period as Muangthong were forced into some at times desperate defending. The Thai side’s strong start, however, gave them the confidence and belief to keep going and they were rewarded with that all important late strike.
Does this guy ever get tired? The rampaging full-back burst onto the scene at last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup with a string of quality showings as Thailand romped to a record fifth regional championship. He showed no signs of letting up on Tuesday, haring up and down the right flank to good effect from the first minute to the last. Not many full-backs would still be making penetrating forward runs into the opposition box well into injury time, but Do was. His run and cross setting up the winner. The 24-year old Thai-French star began his career in France and could easily end up playing back in Europe if he keeps up with this level of performance.
Tristan ‘Do-es’ it again!
Thai football making its mark
Totally dominant in Southeast Asia for decades, Thai football is now at last earning the respect it deserves on a larger stage. Muangthong’s first win the AFC Champions League Group Stage will give the squad confidence and if they can win both their remaining home games then they could even qualify for the knockout stages – which would be an incredible achievement.
Muangthong’s success, coupled with the Thai national squad’s qualification for the third round of World Cup qualify is finally beginning to earn Thai football some attention – and it is well deserved.