Thai FA Cup winners Buriram United salvaged a 1-1 away draw against J League runners-up Vegalta Sendai in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday, betraying little signs of being a team under a match-fixing cloud.
Buriram are awaiting the outcome of an investigation into allegations that match-fixers tried to rig the result of their FA Cup final victory against Army United in November.
Thai Football Association head and FIFA executive committee member Worawi Makudi said last week that the Japanese official in charge of the final, which Buriram won 2-1, had reported to the Asian Football Confederation that he had been offered money to help rig the result.
The Thai team, however, put the controversy behind them in the Group E opener at a snowy Sendai Stadium and equalised through captain Osmar Barba Ibanez in the 76th minute to take home a point. Ryang Yong-Gi had converted a penalty to put the hosts ahead in the 53rd minute.
Buriram beat J League team Kashiwa Reysol 3-2 in a memorable AFC Champions League debut last year but lost the return game in Japan by a solitary goal.
The Thai club, who edged out Australia's Brisbane Roar on penalties in the play-offs to make their second successive group stage, next host FC Seoul - who thrashed Jiangsu Sainty 5-1 in their Group E fixture - on March 12.
AFC presidential race
From one Asian battle on the pitch, to an equally fierce Asian battle off it.
On Tuesday, Bahrain Football Association President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa joined the race for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) presidency. However, Thailand's Worawi Makudi still seems to have a headstart on his rivals.
The Bahraini's office said that he would be one of the candidates vying for 46 votes to succeed Mohamed bin Hammam.
Qatari bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery and China's Zhang Jilong has held the role of AFC acting president since May 2011.
"My main target as the AFC president would be to bring everybody together and to unite the Asian Football Confederation"
FIFA Executive Committee member Makudi looks to have stolen a march on his rivals for the May 2 election after securing the support of 11 South-East Asian countries on Monday.
Considered a bin Hammam ally, the Thai would be backed by the Football Federation of Australia as well, the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) said in a statement.
AFF President Sultan Ahmad said: "...we examined our unity and solidarity and have decided to be united in choosing a leader for Asia.
"I am sure Dato' Worawi Makudi will do everything he can to further the needs of the AFC and their member associations." Worawi said he was 'extremely honoured' with the nomination.
"I will do my utmost to serve the ASEAN family Members," he said.
"My main target as the AFC president would be to bring everybody together and to unite the Asian Football Confederation."