Chiangrai United see off Bali United to keep ACL dream alive

Chiangrai United v Bali United: Cleiton Silva
Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Chiangrai United had to dig deep to beat Bali United 2-1 after extra-time on Tuesday and advance to the playoff round of the 2018 AFC Champions League qualifiers.

Following a goalless 90 minutes at the Singha Stadium which saw the tie enter extra-time, it was the Thai hosts who found the breakthrough in the 94th minute courtesy of Akarawin Sawasdee’s thunderous volley from outside the area.

Chiangrai doubled their tally 11 minutes later as a nice combination between Cleiton Silva and Pathompol Charoenrattanapirom saw them play a couple of neat one-twos, before the latter rifled a low drive into the bottom corner.

The Indonesian visitors were handed a lifeline in the 116th minute when Ilija Spasojevic received possession from Nick van der Velden and, with the ball bouncing up in front of him, proceeded to instinctively sent a fine effort over Chatchai Budprom and dipping into goal.

Nonetheless, Chiangrai were just able to hold out for the remainder of the contest and set up a playoff meeting with Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG.

Meanwhile, Bali do have the consolation of playing in the AFC Cup this year, where they have already been drawn in Group G alongside Global Cebu, FLC Thanh Hoa and Yangon United.