A brilliant second-half free-kick by Theeraton gave Buriram the point they needed to go back to the top of Group F in the Asian Champions League. Buriram were outplayed in the first-half but came back strongly in the second.
Opponents Gamba Osaka had lost their first two games and were desperate for the win which would re-ignite their campaign. There had been heavy rain before the game and it became torrential for much of the match.
Both teams deserve immense credit for producing such an entertaining game in extremely difficult conditions. Buriram stuck with the same side that won in China , which was to be expected.
Buriram made a very assured start , knocking the ball about confidently. They should have taken the lead in the third minute. Theeraton sent over a perfect free-kick from the left but Diogo failed to hit the target with his header, with the goal at his mercy.
Four minutes later Prakit reacted superbly to a bouncing ball outside the area to send an audacious flick with the outside of his left foot up and over the keeper who back-pedalled to pull off a very good save.
Gamba were becoming more prominent and Siwarak made a great save in the eleventh minute when he pushed a fierce long-range shot up and onto the post.
Two minutes later superb one touch football opened up the Buriram defence but fortunately the resulting shot flew just over the bar.
Buriram were struggling to make any impression as the home side were dominating the midfield. When Buriram did gain possession they were guilty of losing it far too cheaply.
Buriram could easily have been awarded a penalty in the thirty-seventh minute. Tunez was injured as a left-wing corner came over and replays showed that the big centre-half had been clearly fouled.
Two minutes later Gamba got the goal they had been threatening for some time. Another incisive move down the right saw their player cut inside and fire in a low shot.
Siwarak managed to turn the ball onto the post but just couldn’t get to the rebound and the ball went under his body and into the net.
Just before the interval Buriram produced a move of real quality. A lovely flick by Seul-Ki found Macena who turned superbly to create the opening but fired over the bar.
Buriram would have been happy to go in at the interval only one down and they were far from out of it. The rain was still unrelenting and mistakes were always a possibilty, although the pitch was holding up superbly.
Gamba came out with a far more measured approach and straight away the Buriram midfield began to see more of the ball. Diogo tried a long-range shot which went wide.
After an hour Narubodin was replaced by Suree and a minute later Buriram stunned the Japanese with an equalizer. Theeraton lined up a free-kick on the right, some thirty-five yards out.
He sent a superb shot up and over the wall and it found the net just inside the post with the keeper well-beaten. It was a world-class strike in anybody’s language and he was mobbed by his jubilant teammates.
Theeraton was to the fore three minutes later, picking up a yellow card. Buriram were beginning to dominate but were given a timely reminder that Gamba were far from finished in the sixty-fifth minute.
A good Gamba move down the right saw the ball pulled back from the byline and a fierce shot ensued which flew just over.. Diogo then was shown a yellow card in the seventieth minute.
Prakit was replaced by Surat and a minute later Buriram almost hit Gamba with another free-kick.This time Suchao shot from fully forty yards but his remarkable effort struck the top of the bar.
Buriram were on top now and a superb Theeraton pass sent Macena away but the finish was disappointing. Then Macena delivered an inviting cross from the left but Diogo just couldn’t get enough on the ball at the near-post.
That was more or less the end of the goalmouth action and Buriram looked in total control and happy with their point.
Siwarak managed to pick up a deserved yellow card when he went down holding his head before deciding it was his leg that was hurt. He should be feeling embarrassed today.
A very good second-half performance in difficult conditions away from home, gave Buriram a deserved draw. They have gone a long way to making the knock-out stages, one more win will probably be enough.
What has impressed me is the way Buriram are reacting to going behind or being outplayed.They have a steel about them which is required in this competition, especially away from home.
Next game is a home league match against Sisaket on Sunday March 22nd, 6pm.