Gamba Osaka scored a very late winner to give them a 2-1 victory in a game Buriram dominated from start to finish. Buriram squandered a host of chances whilst the Japanese were clinical in their finishing.
Yet again Buriram failed to score from open play and also once again showed their vulnerability to the counter attack.The lack of goals is now a real worry and playing three at the back is leaving the defence wide open to swift breaks.
Buriram knew that a victory would probably see them through to the knock-out stages and set about Gamba from the off.
They attacked with speed and purpose and the keeper struggled to deal with an early Theeraton corner after he had turned a Seul- Ki thirty yard shot round the post.
Buriram got the early goal they wanted in the seventh minute and once again, it was Theeraton who provided it. He sent over a beautifully struck in-swinging corner from the right and it found its way into the corner of the net at the far post with the keeper helpless.
Whether it was intentional or not, it was the perfect corner and I got the impression that Theeraton fancied his chances. Six minutes later after some lovely play down the right, Diogo took a return pass but the keeper saved easily.
In the twentieth minute Macena made a good break into the left side of the box but elected to cross when the shot was on. This was to become an all-too familiar event.
Four minutes later Gamba had their first attempt on goal which was just wide, though Siwarak had it well-covered, Shortly after Buriram had a good chance to increase their lead.
Diogo challenged the keeper for a left-wing cross and the ball fell invitingly for Theeraton but his shot flew way over the bar. Theeraton had an even better chance on the half- hour.
A lovely first-time ball by Macena set him clear in the left side of the box but he sent a low shot into the side-netting when he really should’ve at least hit the target.
Gamba began to see more of the ball and the Buriram defence had to be at their best to deal with their speedy breaks out of defence. However, it still came as a bit of a surprise when the visitors equalized five minutes before the break.
Quick passing and movement down the left cut the Buriram defence to ribbons and Siwarak had no chance with the finish low to his left.It was tough on Buriram but it was a lesson on how to take your chances.
Three minutes later Macena got to the by-line down the right before cutting inside and bringing a good save from the Japanese keeper. Gamba then had the ball in the net again but the assistant referee had his flag raised for offside.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Buriram had a great chance to retake the lead. A breathtaking move, which involved several players combining to set Diogo through with a clear sight of goal.
The Brazilian side-footed the ball straight at the keeper when a more positive finish was required.It highlighted the fact that Diogo is not a natural goalscorer despite the amount of work he gets through.
The game should have been over considering the amount of possession that Buriram had enjoyed but yet again it was all to play for in the second half.
Buriram came out all guns blazing after the interval and straight away Macena made a good run down the left but failed to get in a shot. Five minutes later Seul-Ki, Theeraton and Macena combined beautifully before Suchao sent his shot just wide.
Then Macena made another penetrating run down the left but once again failed to test the keeper. Shortly after Diogo and Theeraton combined well to give Seul-Ki a shooting chance but his weak effort was straight at the keeper.
Just before the hour mark a great move saw the referee allow advantage after a Gamba foul and Theeraton got free in the box but once again he shot into the side-netting.
Theeraton then turned provider for Diogo on the edge of the box but his shot was too high.Macena tried a spectacular volley following a corner but his effort landed high up into the crowd.
Twenty minutes from time Diogo tried a shot from the left corner of the box but his powerful effort was too high.Macena then sent a low cross right across the face of the goal but no-one was there to finish it off.
Buriram had a let-off in the seventy-fifth minute when Suree lost his man who then moved into the box but shot wide.Ten minutes from time Buriram had their best chance of the match.
Macena fired in a shot which the keeper parried straight to Prakit. The midfielder only had to hold his nerve and hit the target to score but he lashed the ball wildly over the bar. A dreadful miss.
Buriram then had the ball in the net but it was correctly ruled out for offside. Ironically, it was actually a very cool finish but to no avail.Four minutes from time the unthinkable happened.
Buriram gave the ball away in their own half and Gamba carved through the stretched defence before an excellent low shot nestled in the corner of the Buriram net with Siwarak well-beaten.
Buriram poured forward but could not find the equalizer and were left shattered at the final whistle.They only had themselves to blame and the reality is that despite all the pressure, the Gamba keeper had very little to do.
It was a crushing blow but despite playing some exciting football, the finishing was nothing short of woeful.The tactics of playing without at least one out and out striker is clearly not working.
Young Naruebodin is one of the best defenders in Thailand and he is clearly not suited to the midfield role he is being asked to play. In my opinion we need to get back to a flat back four so that the defence does not get caught on the counter so easily.
Buriram are still in a good position in the group but if someone doesn’t start finding the net regularly soon, it will all be irrelevant. A tactical rethink is required.
Next games are Navy,(H) , Sunday April 26th 6pm, Chainat (A) , Wednesday April 29th, 6pm.