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Buriram United end decade of AFC waiting

Al Shabab advance and Buriram become first Thai team to advance to knockout stages since BEC Tero Sasana in 2003.

Last Modified: 01 May 2013 21:51
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Buriram players celebrate advancing to round 16 of AFC Champions League on goal difference [GALLO/GETTY].

Buriram United became the first Thai team to reach the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League in a decade after a 2-2 draw with FC Seoul on Wednesday.

Al Shabab of the United Arab Emirates also advanced, going from last to second in Group B with a 2-1 win over Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan. They were joined Lekhwiya of Qatar who finished top of the group after beating Al Ittifaq 2-0. The defeat left the Saudi side in third.

Buriram rallied twice, both moments after Seoul has scored.

Jung Seung-yong scored in the 54th minute and Buriram equalised through midfielder Ekkachai Sumrela two minutes later at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Kim Hyun-sung put the hosts ahead in the 74th but the visitors pulled even again on defender Theerathon Bunmathan's free kick a minute later.

The Thai FA Cup winners advance thanks to a better goal difference over Jiangsu Sainty. Both teams finished the group stage with seven points, four behind FC Seoul.

Buriram becomes the first Thai team to advance to the knockout stage since BEC Tero Sasana and progress despite a missed penalty in the first half by Carmelo Gonzalez.

Buriram will face Group G winner Bunyodkor in the last 16.

Sendai sent out

In Group E's other game, Hamdi Salihi scored in the second half as Chinese club Jiangsu Sainty beat Vegalta Sendai 2-1 to deny the Japanese club a place in the next round. 

Naoki Sugai put the hosts ahead early but Liu Jianye equalized seven minutes before the break.

Both teams finished with 10 men as Sendai striker Wilson and Jiangsu player Ren Hang were both sent off in the late stages.

Former champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors returned to the last 16 following a goalless draw with Group F winners Guangzhou Evergrande.

Jeonbuk only needed a point secure qualification ahead of fellow former champions Urawa Reds who came up short despite a 1-0 win over Muangthong United of Thailand who finished bottom of Group F.

Al Shabab, who needed a victory to keep their campaign alive, got off to the perfect start when Esam Dhahi scored in the first minute. Kakha Makharadze levelled with a 19th penalty, but Ciel scored the winner in the 64th to send the Emirati club through.

In the other Group B match, Luiz Ceara opened the scoring for Lekhwiya in the 12th and Khalid Muftah put the match out of reach in the 66th.

With Group A already decided, Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia ensured they would finish top of the group with a 2 - 1 over Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates. El Jaish of Qatar, already sure of finishing at least second, beat Tractorsazi Tabriz of Iran 4-2.

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Source:
AP
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