Buriram edge Jeju to join Evergrande in Round of 16

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Buriram United are through to the knockout round of the AFC Champions League after beating Jeju United 1-0 on Tuesday to seal a top-two finish in Group G.

The breakthrough at the Jeju World Cup Stadium came nine minutes after the break when Diogo’s clever back-heel released Sasalak Haiprakhon, who skipped inside a defender before playing a low cross into the six-yard box for Korrakod Wiriyaudomsiri to poke past Kim Kyeong-min.

That goal proved to be enough to hand the Thai outfit the win they needed to keep alive their hopes of reaching the Round of 16, although their evening looks like it will be tarnished by a serious injury to Diogo, who was on the receiving end of a studs-up challenge on his ankle by Cho Yong-hyun.

And, with Guangzhou Evergrande beating Cerezo Osaka 3-1 at the Tianhe Stadium, Buriram did indeed advance as they overtook the latter for a second-place finish.

Evergrande also entered Tuesday uncertain of their place in the Round of 16, although it took them just six minutes to edge ahead when Huang Bowen latched onto Li Xuepeng’s low drive into the box and finishing into the bottom corner.

But, four minutes later, the Japanese visitors pulled level as Takaki Fukumitsu beat the offside trap to run onto Kazuya Yamamura’s through-pass, skipping past Zeng Cheng before finishing into the unguarded net.

The hosts did manage to reclaim their lead three minutes before the hour mark when Gao Lin’s header from a corner landed on the chest of Alan Carvalho, who reacted well to lash a shot from a tight angle in off the near post.

Four minutes from time, the result was put beyond doubt with Alan doubling his tally for the evening, latching onto Yu Hanchao’s cut-back and firing a first-time effort into the back of the net.