Buriram had to dig deep to win their first game against South Korean opposition in the AFC Champions League.
They defeated Seongnam 2-1 in a hugely entertaining game at Thunder Castle.
The humidity was always going to be a problem for both teams but this did not deter the players and both sides showed their attacking intent from the outset.
Buriram almost took the lead in the first minute.
Macena, who was to prove to be a thorn in Seongnam’s side all night, made progress down the right and crossed for Seul-Ki to shoot narrowly wide. Four minutes later Macena was at it again.
This time he made a great run down the left and reached the byline before sending over a low cross which somehow managed to evade the waiting Buriram attackers in the box.
In the sixth minute it was that man Macena again when he chased a through ball down the middle. He appeared to be caught by the advancing keeper but the referee waved penalty appeals aside.
It had been a frantic opening and Seongnam were doing their fair share of attacking. Their movement and swift passing to feet was a delight to watch and the Buriram defence needed to be at their best.
The deadlock was broken in the sixteenth minute and inevitably Macena was the architect. He made a great run down the left flank before finding Diogo in the box.
The Brazilian hesitated and the chance seemed to be lost.
However, the ball broke right and fell invitingly for Prakit who made no mistake with a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net. It was his first goal for Buriram and a vital one at that.
Two minutes later, Buriram found themselves two goals up when Macena scored as good a goal as you will see anywhere in the world. The Brazilian striker won possession ten yards inside his own half.
There was only one thing on his mind as he raced at the retreating defence.
When an attempted challenge was made, an electrifying burst of speed took him clear on goal and he buried a low shot into the corner of the net from sixteen yards.
It was a stunning strike and it had the whole crowd on their feet , saluting a sublime solo effort. It certainly knocked the stuffing out of the Koreans who could not believe they were two goals down.
However, they settled down again and began to put Buriram under pressure with their speedy possession football.
They almost pulled one back on twenty-four minutes when a fierce shot from outside the area was only just too high.
Buriram were just not able to get hold of the ball and the visitors went close again when Siwarak was unable to deal with a looping cross and was grateful to see the resulting shot come straight at him.
Seongnam were in full flow now and were only just wide with a header from a right-wing cross.Buriram did manage to get one attempt on goal but Diogo’s shot was easy for the keeper.
After thirty-seven minutes Macena was only halted by a great tackle when it looked like he was going clear again. Suchao then tried his luck from range but was just too high.
Macena was continuing to torment the visitors’ defence and when he attempted to turn his marker , he was only prevented from going clear once more by a crude challenge which brought a yellow card.
So at the interval, Buriram were firmly in control , with Macena outstanding. However, Seongnam had done more than enough to suggest that the contest was far from over.
Buriram made a good start to the second-half and Suchao sent a good header from a free-kick agonizingly wide.
Then Macena broke down the left and his low cross found Diogo who shot tamely straight at the keeper.
After fifty-seven minutes a good move down the left ended with Diogo getting tangled up in the box and the ball was cleared.There then followed a period when Buriram were made to chase shadows .
The visitors moved the ball around at breathtaking speed and Buriram could not gain any meaningful possession. However, to their credit, the defence held its shape and denied Seongnam any clear-cut chances.
Buriram finally managed to carve out an opening in the sixty-fourth minute but Prakit’s effort proved no real problem for the keeper. Five minutes later Siwarak made a smart save , low to his right.
He was in action again in the seventy-third minute when he was forced to back-pedal to claw away a chip which was creeping in at the far post. The humidity was taking its toll and both teams began to struggle.
Seongnam were still pushing forward but the Buriram defence was standing firm.Then three minutes from time the visitors were handed an unlikely lifeline. Theeraton had won the ball superbly on the Buriram left then carelessly gave it away.
Seongnam made progress down the right before the ball was crossed into the box.The outstanding Naruebodin attempted to clear but succeeded only in turning the ball into his own net.
It was harsh on the Buriram defender who had hardly put a foot wrong all night. Obviously this gave the visitors new hope and they poured forward in search of an equalizer.
Buriram were content to just thump the ball down-field but they were also on the lookout for a counter attack.
Deep into stoppage time, Macena somehow found the stamina to race through on goal one last time but his low shot was inches wide of the post with the keeper well-beaten.
There was just time for Seongnam to cause Buriram hearts to flutter once more but thankfully the shot was straight at Siwarak and the referee finally blew for time.
It had been an enthralling encounter and players from both sides were lying exhausted on the pitch. It was a great victory for Buriram against a very good team and the defence as a unit were outstanding.
Macena’s fitness was unbelievable as he single-handedly ran the Seongnam defence ragged. Suchao again had an excellent game in the holding-role but Diogo faded badly and was largely ineffective in the second-half.
An important three points but Seongnam showed that the standard is going to be high and qualification for the knock-out stages will be far from easy.