You can find the full AFC Cup 2012 schedule here:
AFC Cup 2012 Schedule
YANGON UNITED v CHONBURI : MATCH PREVIEW
Coach Eric Williams has stressed the importance of a strong home record as Myanmar champions Yangon United prepare for Wednesday's AFC Cup debut against AFC Champions League play-off losers Chonburi from Thailand.
With club sides from Myanmar taking part in the competition for the first time, Yangon head into the game after extending their unbeaten streak to five games after sharing a 2-2 draw with 2010 AFC President's Cup winners Yadanarbon on Saturday.
"We have prepared very well to ensure we have a good start in the Group Stage," said Williams.
"I have emphasised the importance of winning our home games because we are not sure about the away games, but we can control what happens in the home games."
Thai Premier League runners-up Chonburi, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from their AFC Champions League play-off defeat by Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers by making a positive start to their Group G campaign.
Withaya Laohakul's side produced a spirited display in Korea last month, but suffered a 2-0 defeat by the 2009 AFC Champions League winners.
"This is our first game, but we are confident we can win the competition this year," said Withaya.
"I have seen one of Yangon's games on DVD when they played a friendly against BEC Tero from Thailand and I know that they are a good team."
AFC CUP : GROUP G PREVIEW
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul is sweating on the fitness of two of his players for his side’s AFC Cup encounter with Singapore’s Home United on Wednesday.
The Thai side are looking to get their Group G campaign on track after a fortunate draw in their opening match against newcomers Yangon United two weeks ago. Last year’s AFC Cup quarter-finalists needed a stoppage-time equaliser by Sukree Etae to rescue a 1-1 draw with the Myanmar league champions.
But preparations for the visit of Home, who beat Hong Kong side Citizen 3-1 in their opener, have not gone well with central defender Pipob on-Mo hospitalised with illness and forward Puttinan Wannasri nursing an ankle injury.
“I may be without two of my key players tomorrow in central defence and attack and that is a big concern because Home United are a very good counter-attacking team and have two very skilful wingers,” said Witthaya.
“Right now, Puttinan is ill with suspected food poisoning and we would miss his presence because he is a good leader and very good in the air. Pipob has an injured right ankle and may only be available as a substitute. If he is not playing, then we will have a problem with our attack.”
Despite the possible absence of the pair, Witthaya is expecting an improved performance by his team after the draw in Yangon.
“I feel that we must improve in tomorrow’s game. I thought that we played to a very low standard in our last match and I hope that we can play better tomorrow.”
Home United lead the group after their victory over Citizen and coach Lee Lim-saeng is expecting his side to maintain their position at the top.
“I just want the players to show what we can do,” said the Korean. “Hopefully we get the confidence and we play together as a unit so that we can get a good result.
“If we play our normal game, I am confident about our chances of getting a good result.”
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38428-afc-cup-md-2-group-g-preview
AFC CUP : GROUP G PREVIEW
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul has expressed confidence that his side can shake of their injury problems and consolidate their position at the top of AFC Cup Group G with a victory over Hong Kong's Citizen on Tuesday.
The unbeaten Thai club moved a point clear of Home United and Citizen after a goal by Ludovick Kengne earned a 1-0 win over Singapore Cup holders Home United two weeks ago.
But ahead of their clash with the Hong Kong club, Withaya voiced some concerns about his club's injury problems particularly those that have afflicted full-backs Anucha Kitpongsri and Natthaphong Samana, who are both doubtful for the match.
"We are a bit concerned that we have some key injuries with our starters, especially on both flanks," said the former Thailand international midfielder.
"However, we are still confident with what we will have on the field and also the work that the players have been putting in towards finishing our chances."
Having lost 3-1 at Home United in their opening game, Citizen managed to secure their first ever AFC Cup win two weeks ago with a 2-1 victory over Myanmar's Yangon United thanks to Festus Baise's stoppage-time winner.
"We are prepared and ready but we know that Chonburi are the best team in our group," said coach Chu Kwok Kuen.
"However, we are going to play our best to gain the three points, although I would be happy with at least one point."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38569-afc-cup-md-3-group-g-preview
CITIZEN v CHONBURI : MATCH PREVIEW
Coach Withaya Laohakul has boldly claimed Chonburi will achieve more than Thailand's AFC Champions League representatives Buriram United this season ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Hong Kong's Citizen in the AFC Cup.
Chonburi missed out on a place in the AFC Champions League this season alongside Thai treble winners Buriram after losing to Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers in the play-offs, but have made an unbeaten start in Group G of the AFC Cup after beating Citizen 2-0 at home last week.
And a win at Mong Kok Stadium, coupled with three points for Home United against Myanmar's Yangon United in Singapore, would see Chonburi secure a place in the Round of 16 with two games to spare.
"We feel we are better than Buriram as they depend on individual skill, while we have better teamwork and we will do better than them this season," said Withaya.
"Our local league has recently started and we are getting better and better. We are 80% ready for the match and we are looking to improve further. We are aiming to top the group so it makes it easier for us to concentrate on the local league as a win will guarantee we advance to the Round of 16. It is important match for us and we are prepared.
"Citizen have a very good counterattack, but our four defenders are well prepared. I encourage both teams to play as attacking as last game Citizen played very defensively, but if Citizen open up it will be a good game."
Chonburi, who beat Esan United 5-1 on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten start to the new Thai Premier League season, will again be without injured midfielder Anucha Kitpongsri against Citizen.
Citizen, meanwhile, begin a key run of back-to-back home games in the AFC Cup against Chonburi and coach Chu Kwok Kuen is confident the Hong Kong Senior Shield winners can build on last week's defeat, which saw the home side score twice in the second half.
"We have had good preparations and we will use the same formation and tactics as we did last week, but we will try and add some more attacking elements. We targeted one point from the last game, but this game we are targeting three points," he said.
"Chonburi are a very good team and have good speed and a good passing game. We believe they are the best team in the group and we learnt a lot in the last match. Even though we lost, we learnt a lot and hopefully we can reverse the result."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38735-afc-cup-md4-group-g-preview
CHONBURI v YANGON UTD : GROUP G PREVIEW
Having missed a glorious opportunity to secure their place in the knockout stage of the AFC Cup in their last game, Thai Premier League side Chonburi will be looking to get the job done when they host Myanmar's Yangon United on Tuesday.
The Group G leaders appeared to have their spot in the last 16 in the bag when Sukree Etae scored two minutes from time to hand Chonburi a 3-1 lead against Citizen in Hong Kong two weeks ago, but the hosts scored twice in stoppage-time to earn a dramatic 3-3 draw which put the Thai club's celebrations on ice.
Chonburi still lead the group with eight points, one more than second-placed Home United of Singapore and four ahead of Citizen with two games remaining, and a victory against last-placed Yangon would see them advance to the round of 16 for the third time in four years.
The Thai side, though, have injury concerns ahead of the game with defender Anucha Kitpongsri and midfielders Adul Lahso and Natthaphong Samana all doubtful.
"We now have quite a few injuries and we will need to check whether Anucha, Adul or Natthaphong can play," said Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul, who saw his side draw 1-1 draw in Myanmar in March thanks to Sukree's stoppage-time equaliser.
"I feel that we need to win our home games to finish top of the group but we will be trying to play our best without any pressure. I do not think that we need to play at 100% to win our games. We have a good team and if we could even play at 70%, we should be able to win."
Debutants Yangon United have only two points from four games and would need other results to go their way to have any chance of reaching the last 16.
"We are under no pressure for the game," said Australian coach Eric Williams. "While Chonburi are competing in the AFC Cup for the third time, this is our first year in the competition so we do not have high expectations.
"The pressure is on Chonburi because they need to win to top the group. However, we will play to the best of our ability and focus on defending and counter-attacking well."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38892-afc-cup-md5-group-g-preview
HOME UTD v CHONBURI : GROUP G PREVIEW
Home United of Singapore and Chonburi of Thailand may have already secured their places in the last 16 of the AFC Cup but the stakes are still high for their final Group G clash at the Bishan Stadium on Tuesday.
Chonburi hold a one-point lead after their 1-0 home win over Yangon United of Myanmar two weeks ago, however, a victory for the Singapore Cup holders at home would Home United leapfrog the Thai club into top spot, which would mean a home tie in the Round of 16.
Second place in the group would mean a long journey to the Middle East to face the winners of Group E – either Al Shorta of Syria, Al Zawra’a of Iraq or Safa of Lebanon – in a one-off knockout match.
“Tomorrow’s game is crucial as we want to play at home in Singapore in the Round of 16 and not have to travel to the Middle East to play,” said Home United’s Korean coach Lee Lim-saeng
“We know about the quality of the teams from the Middle East and it will not be easy to beat them at their home grounds. That is why it is so important for us to get a win tomorrow.”
Lee will be looking for an improvement by his side over their performance at Chonburi in March, when they lost 1-0.
“When we played away at Chonburi, our players seemed nervous especially playing in front of their fans. But I think that they will play with more confidence tomorrow. We are more familiar with our ground and I feel we can get a good result on our pitch,” he added.
“We were unable to play in our preferred style against Chonburi in the first match because they played better than us but we will try to impose our game tomorrow. It is an important game and we cannot give up.”
While Chonburi are unbeaten in the AFC Cup this year, they have not been at their best on their travels, drawing their matches in Myanmar against Yangon United and in Hong Kong against Citizen.
“We have had problems in our recent away games that we need to improve on,” said coach Withaya Laohakul. “We have not played well in those games but tomorrow we will have to try and play at our best.
“We have a couple of players, Therdsak (Chaiman) and Ludo (Kengne Ludovick) who have played in Singapore before and can provide us with the benefit of their experience. Therdsak is very experienced and I believe he can control tomorrow’s game.
“We will also have (left-back) Anucha Kitpongsri, our best player on the left, available again after his ankle injury.
“We will try our best because we have set a high target for our club. We beat the eventual champions (Nasaf) last year but this year, we aim to reach the final.”
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39058-afc-cup-md6-group-g-preview
WITTHAYA WAITS ON KEY PAIR
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul is sweating on the fitness of defender Chonlatit Jantakam and French midfielder Geoffrey Doumeng as the Thai Premier League side prepare to entertain Iraq's Al Zawra'a in the last 16 of the AFC Cup on Tuesday.
Both played central roles as Thai Premier League runners-up Chonburi won Group G with an unbeaten record ahead of Singapore's Home United after losing to Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers in the AFC Champions League play-offs.
But the pair are doubtful as Chonburi look to maintain Thai interest in continental competition this season after treble winners Buriram United missed out on a place in the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
"Chonburi still have some problems with injured player again and again, and I am not sure if Chonlatit and Doumeng can be on starting list tomorrow," said Withaya, who has seen his side lose just once in their last 14 outings in all competitions after beating Wuachon United 1-0 last Sunday.
Having featured in the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League in 2008, Chonburi have progressed to the quarter-finals of the AFC on their last two appearances in 2009 and 2011.
"This knockout game is very important for us and we will play our good game for our fans,' added Withaya, who saw his side lose on penalties to eventual champions Nasaf from Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals last year.
"We just saw an Al Zawra'a team video and we know that they have some great players in the front line."
Iraq's Al Zawra'a are aiming to reach the last eight of the AFC Cup for the first time after losing to domestic rivals Arbil in 2009 following two appearances in the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League.
This time around, Al Zawra'a finished second behind Syria's Al Shorta in Group E after scoring 12 goals to win four of their six games.
"This is a long away trip and it is going to be very difficult. The weather in Thailand is also going to be a problem," said Al Zawra'a coach Radhi Shnaishel.
"We already know that Chonburi is a good team in this tournament, they have a lot of national team players and very can produce strong performances.
"The knockout stage is very difficult for our team, however, we have no choice and we will try our best."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39188-chonburi-v-al-zawraa-preview
PLENTY OF PREP TIME FOR SHORTA
Having arrived in Thailand nearly a week before their AFC Cup quarter-final showdown with Chonburi, Syrian side Al Shorta will be looking to put in another strong display in the competition when they face the Thai Premier League side in the first leg at Chonburi Stadium on Tuesday.
Competing in the AFC Cup for the first time, the 2011 Syrian League champions have been forced to play all of their matches in this year's tournament on the road because of the political situation in Syria.
But they have overcome their difficulties well so far, winning five of their six matches to top Group E before downing Singapore's Home United 3-0 in Amman in the Round of 16.
That win against Home United in late May was their last competitive match as their domestic league has been suspended due to the continued unrest in Syria. However, coach Tita Valeriu remains confident that his side can rise to the occasion and give the Thai side a stern test on Tuesday.
"It is going to be a great game tomorrow," said the Romanian, who led another Syrian side, Al Ittihad, to victory in the 2010 AFC Cup.
"We already know that Chonburi are a good and strong club in Thailand. They have good experience in the AFC Cup so it's going to be difficult to fight with them.
"We will try our best to be 100% ready for the game. That was why we came to Thailand five days before the match to prepare."
With no suspensions or major injuries to report, the biggest concern for Valeriu is the hot and humid weather conditions in Thailand.
"In Syria we have no rain and weather like you get in Thailand and that is a big issue for us," he said.
"But we will be doing our best to put in our best performance on the pitch."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39952-plenty-of-prep-time-for-shorta
THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR CHONBURI?
Having gone out in the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup in two of the past three years, Thai Premier League side Chonburi will be looking to make it third time lucky when they face Syria's Al Shorta in this season's last four.
The Shark lost 4-2 on aggregate to Vietnamese side Binh Duong in 2009 and suffered more heartbreak last year when they drew 1-1 on aggregate with Nasaf of Uzbekistan before losing in a penalty shootout to the eventual champions.
The 2011 Thai Premier League runners-up missed out on a spot in the AFC Champions League after losing a play-off game against Pohang in February but they have made their disappointing exit to top their AFC Cup group with four wins and two draws before edging Iraqi side Al Zawra'a 1-0 in the Round of 16.
And they enter Tuesday's encounter at the Chonburi Stadium on a good run of form after winning four of their last five games including a 4-2 victory over reigning Thailand Premier League champions Buriram United on September 8.
Coach Withaya Laohakul is taking nothing for granted ahead of the match though with defender Suttinun Phukhom suspended after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament against Al Zawraa and Ivorian defender Fode Diakite and Brazilian forward Thiago Cunha both battling to be fit for the match.
"Even though we have had more than one week to get ready for this very, very important match, we still have to check on some of our key players who have just resumed full training," said Withaya. "Diakite and Thiago Cunha are also still not 100% fully fit.
The former Thailand international midfielder and coach admitted that he had little knowledge of their opponents from Syria, who have not played a match since their 3-0 win over Singapore's Home United in the Round of 16 in May.
"Al Shorta are a good team but we do not have much data about the Syrian club, so it is going to be quite a tough battle against them.
"We have to win at home and hopefully score more than one goal. If we want to progress to the semi-finals, I can say that we have no choice but to get a good result and I'm looking for a good game for us tomorrow."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39953-third-time-lucky-for-chonburi
CHONBURI NEED TO CHALK UP WIN
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul is looking for an improved performance by his side on Wednesday when the Thai club will try to turn around a 2-1 deficit on the road against Syrian champions Al Shorta in the second leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final at the Prince Mohammad International Stadium.
The Thai side are appearing in the last eight of the AFC Cup for the third time in four seasons but they find themselves in the all-too-familiar position of having to chase the tie in the return match after failing to win the first leg at home.
In 2009, they were held 2-2 at home by Binh Duong and were eliminated after losing 2-0 in the second leg in Vietnam.
And last year, they recovered from a 1-0 loss to Nasaf in the first leg by winning by the same score in Uzbekistan only to bow out on penalties to the eventual champions.
Their 2-1 defeat against Al Shorta in Thailand last Tuesday, when Thiago Cunha’s early strike for the Thai club was cancelled out by goals by Odai Al Jafal and Geilson just before half-time, means that they will need to score at least twice at Zarqa City in order to rescue the tie.
Having seen Chonburi labour to break down the Syrian side in Thailand last week, Withaya knows that his side will have to redouble their efforts in Jordan if they hope to put an end to their quarter-final jinx.
"We expect a tough match just like the first leg which was a strong encounter between the two teams,” he said. “We may have lost the first leg but we are still in contention and we must fight for victory.
"We will try to get a positive result in order to secure our place in the next stage although we will be missing some players which could affect us along with the hot weather here which is totally unlike the conditions that we are used to at home.
"I hope that we can create a lot of scoring chances and score from them unlike the first leg when we controlled proceedings but failed to score more than one goal."
Defender Suttinun Phukhom is likely to return for Chonburi after being suspended for the first leg for accumulating two yellow cards in the competition.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40140-chonburi-need-to-chalk-up-win
KUDOS FOR LAOHKUL'S MEN
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul thanked his players on Wednesday after they battled back to beat Syrian side Al Shorta 4-2 after extra-time and finally cleared the AFC Cup quarter-final hurdle at the third time of asking.
The Thai club were beaten in the last eight in 2009 and last year and they appeared to be headed out at the quarter-final stage once again after losing 2-1 to Al Shorta at home in the first leg.
Withaya had been critical of his players after that defeat but he was delighted by their response at the Prince Mohammad International Stadium in Zarqa, Jordan as a hat-trick by Thiago Cunha, which included the winner right at the end of extra-time, saw them go through to the semi-finals for the first time after a 5-4 aggregate win.
"We knew that the match would be very hard for us especially as we had a few injuries and the weather conditions also made things difficult for us,” he said.
“But we went into the game with only one target which was to win."
With Chonburi needing to score twice in the second leg to avoid elimination, captain Pipob On-mo and Thaigo found the net late in the first half to turn the match in favour of the visitors.
Goals by Oday Al Jafal in the second half and Ali Ghalioum early in extra-time put Al Shorta back in front but Thiago scored twice more to complete his hat-trick with the decisive goal in the tie coming right at the end of extra-time.
"The players knew what they wanted and they managed to get what they deserved thanks to a fighting performance,” added Withaya.
"We wanted to win tonight and we achieved it in extra-time. I want to thank all of the players for their contributions and we are now looking to go further forward in this competition."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40128-chonburi-reax
SHORTA BOSS PRAISES SHARKS
Al Shorta coach Tita Valeriu praised the determination shown by Chonburi on Wednesday as the Thai club overcame a first-leg deficit by beating his team 4-2 after extra-time to reach the semi-finals of the AFC Cup.
The Syrian side looked to be in the driver’s seat in the quarter-final after winning 2-1 in Thailand in the first leg but first half-goals by Pipob On-mo and Thiago Cunha at the Prince Mohammad International Stadium in Zarqa, Jordan turned things around for Chonburi.
Al Shorta appeared to have regained control when Oday Al Jafal’s penalty forced extra-time and Ali Ghalioum made amends for a missed penalty by putting the Syrians back in front.
But Chonburi would not lie down and Thiago scored again in the 111th minute to level things once more before hitting a dramatic winner in stoppage time to complete a 5-4 aggregate win.
After the game, Valeriu was highly critical of the attitude shown by his players, who had squandered opportunities to extend their lead in the first half before conceding a pair of soft goals.
"Our players were not up to expectation today and they showed a lack of responsibility as they were not playing seriously in the match and they underestimated our opponents," said the Romanian.
In contrast to his side, Valeriu felt that their Thai opponents approached the match in the right way.
"Chonburi played with great determination and they played good football,” he said. “They won today and they achieved what they wanted by taking the lead in the first half and then managing to find the winner at the end of the game.
"The Chonburi players secured their win because they knew what they wanted unlike our team who were not ready. Our players made a lot of mistakes which eventually has cost us the match."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40129-shorta-reax
SHARKS TO KEEP BITING
Thai side Chonburi will be looking to overcome travel exhaustion and the absence of Brazilian striker Thiago Cunha through suspension when they face Iraqi champions Arbil in the first leg of their AFC Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
Chonburi’s epic 4-2 extra-time victory over Al Shorta of Syria in the second leg of the quarter-finals last Wednesday meant that they had to travel twice across the continent in less than a week to fulfil their fixtures. Having returned to Bangkok from Amman late last Thursday, Withaya Laohakul’s side were off again on Sunday for another long-haul trip to Iraq.
However, coach Withaya insisted that the travel fatigue will not affect the focus of his players who are appearing in the semi-finals for the first time after going out in the last eight in 2009 and last year.
"We had a long trip to get here and that naturally has affected the players,” said the Chonburi boss.
“Despite the difficulties that we have had, we will go into the game against Arbil with only one target which is to win the match.”
A more serious problem for the Thai club will be the absence of Thiago, who bagged a hat-trick against Al Shorta including what proved to be the winning goal right at the end of extra-time. The Brazilian marred his magnificent performance by removing his shirt while celebrating his second goal and received his second yellow card of the quarter-finals, which will rule him out for one game.
"We will be missing Thiago through suspension and that will make things harder for us,” said Withaya. “However, I'm confident that the boys will be able to put in a good performance tomorrow.
"We have studied Arbil well and we know that they have good players in defence or attack. However, we will try our best to get a positive result which will put us in a good position before the second leg at home."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40219-sharks-to-keep-biting
LAOHKUL BLAMES WEATHER FOR LOSS
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul felt that the weather conditions in Iraq adversely affected his players during their 4-1 loss to Arbil on Tuesday although he has not yet given up on his side’s hopes of reaching the AFC Cup final.
A brace by Amjed Radhi, an own goal by Suttinun Phukhom and a screamer by substitute Saleh Sadeer saw the the Iraqi champions coast to a comfortable 4-1 win at the Arbil Stadium as Chonburi skipper Pipob On-mo got the lone response for the visitors.
While fatigue may have played a part in the heavy loss with the Thai club playing their second match in six days in the Middle East with a pair of trans-continental flights sandwiched in between, Withaya felt that the weather conditions may have been a bigger factor.
"Despite the defeat, we have not lost our hope of qualifying for the final and I'm fully confident that our players are capable of getting a good result when we play at home and in front of our fans."
Aside from having the home fans behind them in the second leg, Chonburi will also be able to welcome back Brazilian striker Thiago Cunha, who bagged a hat-trick in their epic quarter-final win against Al Shorta of Syria in Jordan last week but missed the first leg of the semi-final through suspension.
"In the second leg we will have Thiago, whom we missed a lot tonight,” said Withaya.
“I'm confident that the players will get a good result and hopefully we can make a good comeback to advance to the final."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40228-chonburi-reax
ARBIL WON'T LET DEFENCES DOWN
Despite seeing his side coast to a comfortable victory in the first leg of their AFC Cup semi-final against Chonburi on Tuesday, Arbil coach Nizar Mahrous warned that the Thai side could not be written off ahead of the return match in South-East Asia in three weeks.
The Iraqi champions took control of the tie with a 4-1 win at the Arbil Stadium, courtesy of a brace by Amjed Radhi, an own goal by Suttinun Phukhom and a magnificent strike by substitute Saleh Sadeer.
Chonburi skipper Pipob On-Mo got the only goal for the visitors, who were playing their second game in six days in the Middle East after their epic extra-time victory over Al Shorta of Syria in Jordan last Wednesday.
But while his side may already have done enough to book their spot in the final, Mahrous is not about to write off the Thai club.
"Despite our joy with the big win, we must be wary of the strength of Chonburi when they play at home and in front of their fans. We will try to forget the match tonight and prepare the team for the second leg," said the Syrian,
"We must go to Thailand with the aim to get a positive result in order to qualify for the final and we hope that we have a better performance than today although we scored four goals.”
Despite their margin of victory, Mahrous still sees room for improvement by his side.
"I expected our team to have a better performance today regardless of the big win,” he said.
“I'm sure that the players will put in a better performance in Thailand as we want to qualify for the final."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40229-arbil-reax
WITTHAYA VOWS TO FIGHT TO THE END
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul has pledged that his team will battle all the way against Iraqi champions Arbil at the Chonburi Stadium on Tuesday despite needing to overcome a huge deficit in the second leg of their AFC Cup semi-final.
The Thai side, who are appearing in the AFC Cup semi-finals for the first time, trail by three goals in the tie after a 4-1 defeat in Iraq in the first leg on October 2. Two goals by Amjed Radhi, an own goal by Suttinun Phukhom and a screamer by Saleh Sadeer put the Iraqi side firmly on course for the final with Pipob On-Mo grabbing the lone goal for the Thai club.
But Chonburi have already shown their resilience in this season's competition after they recovered from a 2-1 home defeat against Al Shorta of Syria in the first leg of quarter-finals to win the return match 4-2 after extra-time in Amman to advance to the last four.
And Withaya is calling on his side to produce a similar display when they face Arbil in the return match in Thailand.
"I always think in positive way and hopefully we can score some goals using all of our spirit and taking advantage of the chances that we can create," said the former Thailand international midfielder and coach.
"We will fight tomorrow in the best way that we can."
Having already assured themselves of a second-place finish in the Thai Premier League this season, Chonburi rested several key players for their 1-1 draw with Bangkok Glass on Sunday.
But Wit haya does have a number of injury concerns with defender Anucha Kitpongsri and midfielders Natthaphong Samana, Kietprawut Saiwaew and Arthit Sunthornpit all nursing injuries ahead of Tuesday's game.
"Chonburi have faced many problems with players this year and of course we will not have some of our key players tomorrow," the Chonburi coach added.
The winners of the match will host either Kuwait Sports Club or Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia in the final on November 3.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40354-withaya-vows-to-fight-to-the-end
MAHROUS CAUTIOUS ABOUT COMPLACENCY
Despite his team's comfortable lead in their AFC Cup semi-final against Thai Premier League side Chonburi, Arbil coach Nizar Mahrous is taking nothing for granted ahead of the second leg at Chonburi Stadium on Tuesday.
The Iraqi side romped to a 4-1 win over the Thai club in Arbil earlier this month thanks to two goals by Amjed Radhi, an own goal by Suttinun Phukhom and a screamer by Saleh Sadeer.
But Mahrous is mindful of the performance of the Thai side against Syria's Al Shorta in the quarter-finals when they recovered from losing 2-1 at home in the first leg to win the return match 4-2 after extra-time in Amman to reach the last four.
"Chonburi are a great and strong team so even if we won 4-1 against them in our last game, we still have plenty of respect for their team," said the Syrian.
"My team and I can now forget about that last match against Chonburi in Iraq and we will play our best here tomorrow in order to reach the final."
Arbil have the chance to become the first Iraqi team to reach the final of an Asian continental club competition since Al Zawra'a met Japan's Shimizu S-Pulse in the 2000 Asian Cup Winners' Cup.
While Chonburi have played four league matches since the first leg of the semi-finals, Arbil have not been in action as their league season ended in August.
While the team only arrived in Thailand on Sunday after a short training camp in Malaysia, Mahrous is not concerned about the fitness of his players and their acclimatising to the humid conditions in South-East Asia.
"I really don't mind the weather in Thailand. But that's why we had some practice in Malaysia before we arrived here," he said.
The winners of the match will host either Kuwait Sports Club or Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia in the final on November 3.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40355-mahrous-cautions-against-complacency
"WE'LL BE BACK!" VOWS WITTHAYA
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul is confident that the Thai club will learn from the experience of their heavy defeat against Iraqi champions Arbil in the AFC Cup semi-finals and come back stronger when they next play on the continental stage.
Having bowed out in the AFC Cup quarter-finals in two of the previous three seasons, the Thai Premier League side finally reached the semi-finals this year after a dramatic extra-time win over Al Shorta of Syria in the last eight.
Unfortunately for Withaya's side, the rigours of travelling twice across the continent in less than a week to play matches in Jordan and Iraq proved too much for his players as they were beaten 4-1 by Arbil in the first leg in the Middle East earlier this month.
It left the Thai club with an uphill task for the return match at the Chonburi Stadium and although they battled hard to get a result on their home ground, they were cut apart once again by Arbil as two goals by Amjed Rahdi and one each by Saad Abdulameer and Mustafa Kareem consigned them to their second 4-1 defeat and an 8-2 aggregate loss.
There had been a sliver of hope for the Thai club when Suttinun Phukhom cancelled out Abdulameer's opening goal for the visitors to send the teams in on level terms at half-time.
Chonburi still tried to make a game of it in the second half but Radhi's brace ensured that it will be the Iraqi side that hosts the AFC Cup final against either Kuwait Sporting Club or Saudi Arabia's Al Ettifaq early next month.
Withaya admitted that he was bemused by the poor display of his side in the second half as they allowed Arbil to pull away for the win.
"I can say that we played a good game in the first half but we played poorly in the next 45 minutes. I'm still wondering why that happened," said the Chonburi boss.
"Arbil were stronger than us tonight but I am still looking on this experience in a positive way and I believe that Chonburi will come back stronger next time."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40372-chonburi-reaction
MAHROUS HAILS "GREAT PERFORMANCE"
Arbil coach Nizar Mahrous hailed his side's performance on Tuesday after they became the first Iraqi club in 12 years to reach the final of an Asian continental club tournament with an emphatic 8-2 aggregate victory over Thailand's Chonburi in the AFC Cup semi-finals.
The Iraqi champions were already in the box seat after they had thrashed Chonburi 4-1 in the first leg in Iraq earlier this month.
And they got the job done in some style at the Chonburi Stadium as they repeated the score from the first leg with two goals by Amjed Rahdi and one each by Saad Abdulameer and Mustafa Kareem.
"Of course we're very happy with our performance tonight. This is a great result that we wanted," said Mahrous, who also paid tribute to their fallen opponents.
"We still have a lot of respect for Chonburi as they had a lot of motivation tonight and produced a great performance."
No Iraqis side has ever won a continental club title although Al Rasheed reached the 1998 Asian Club Championship final and Al Zawra'a did likewise in the Asian Cup Winners' Cup in 2000.
Arbil lost in the AFC Cup quarter-finals in 2009 and the semi-finals last year but they will have a good chance to finally make the breakthrough for Iraqi clubs when they host the final against either Kuwait SC or Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia early next month.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40373-arbil-reaction
Yangon Utd 1-1 Chonburi
Wednesday 7th March, 2012
Substitute Sukree Etae struck in the third minute of stoppage time as Thai Premier League runners-up Chonburi denied Myanmar champions Yangon United a historic AFC Cup debut as Wednesday's Group G opener finished 1-1 at the Youth Training Centre.
With Myanmar club's taking part in the tournament for the first time following Yadanarbon's 2010 AFC President's Cup success, Serbian striker Milan Jovanovic opened the scoring for Yangon four minutes before half-time.
But deep into stoppage time, after coming on just before the hour mark, Sukree equalised for AFC Champions League play-off losers Chonburi - who lost to Korea Republic's Pohang Steelers 2-0 last month.
Full story: http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38224-yangon-united-v-chonburi
Chonburi 1-0 Home Utd
Wednesday 21st March, 2012
Ex-Home United striker Kengne Ludovick came back to haunt his former side as the Cameroonian scored the only goal in Chonburi’s 1-0 win over the Singapore club in the AFC Cup on Wednesday.
Ludivick headed in the winner in the second half as the Thai side moved to the top of Group G with four points, one ahead of Home United and Hong Kong's Citizen, who beat Yangon United 2-1 in the group’s other game of the night.
The hosts made much of the running and took the lead in the 68th minute when Ludovick rose to meet a free-kick taken by Suree Sukha and headed the ball into the corner of the net.
Home United’s attacking triumvirate of Frenchman Frederick Mendy, Japanese Shotaro Ihata and China-born Qiu Li were kept in check throughout by the Chonburi defence.
The visitors’ best opportunity fell to Ihata seven minutes from time but the Japanese forward was unable to put the ball past goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool in a goalmouth scramble.
The result was a big disappointment for Home United coach Lee Lim-saeng, who saw his side drop their first points after a 3-1 win over Hong Kong side Citizen in their opening match
“It’s a shame because I thought that the game was quite balanced and that both sides deserved a point,” said the Korean.
“We did our best and I must thank my players for their effort. But I thought that we conceded the goal too easily because of a silly mistake in our defence. We will have to work hard on our defending in training so hopefully we don’t concede like that again in our next game.
“We will try not to let this result get our confidence down. Right now, I am not smiling but hopefully, we will get a good result in our next game so that I am smiling again.”
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38450-chonburi-fc-vs-home-united
Chonburi 2-0 Citizen
Tuesday 3rd April, 2012
Chonburi opened up a three-point lead at the top of Group G in the AFC Cup after second-half goals by Therdsak Chaiman and Fode Diakite gave the Thai Premier League side a 2-0 victory over Hong Kong side Citizen on Tuesday.
Therdsak, who came on as a half-time substitute, converted a penalty three minutes into the second half and Diakite headed home on the hour mark to give the Thai club a fully deserved victory at the Chonburi Stadium.
The hosts dominated the contest, which was played on a slick pitch which had been saturated by an earlier rain storm, and they were unlucky not to go into the half-time break with the lead after squandering a number of opportunities in the first half including one effort that came back off the woodwork.
Therdsak came on at the interval to replace Ludovick Kengne and the change paid almost immediate dividends when Chonburi were awarded a penalty shortly after the restart for a handball by a Citizen defender. The former Thailand international playmaker, who was MVP in the inaugural AFC Champions League, stepped up and fired the ball home to put the Thai club a goal up.
Diakite then sealed the win in the 60th minute when Natthapong Samana floated in a delightful cross that the Ivorian defender met with a thumping header into the back of the net.
Despite the win, Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul was critical of what he felt was a lacklustre performance by his side.
"I actually thought it was just a fair performance by our team and our goals felt like a bonus tonight," he said.
"We scored from a penalty and a set piece but it was still not a good performance for us. We will look for our players to improve and I hope that we can play with a better style when we take on Citizen again next week."
Citizen coach Chu Kwok Kuen felt that the wet conditions hampered his side's performance.
"We did well in the first half because we can play well with a defensive style, but because of the rain and the wet pitch, we misplaced several of our passes," said Chu.
"After we conceded the penalty, our performance went down and we finally lost the game. Hopefully, we will do better when we play against them at home next week."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38590-chonburi-2-0-citizen
Citizen 3-3 Chonburi
Wednesday 11th April, 2012
Hong Kong's Citizen scored twice in stoppage time through Chiu Chun Kit and Sham Kwok Fai to deny Thailand's Chonburi a place in the last 16 of the AFC Cup as Wednesday's Group G encounter ended in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Mong Kok Stadium.
Chonburi appeared to have posted a third win of the campaign which would have secured qualification from Group G with two games remaining after goals from Natthaphong Samana and second-half substitutes Pipob On-mo and Sukree Etae had cancelled out Yuto Nakamura's eighth-minute opener for Citizen.
But after Chiu headed home in the first minute of added time, Sham bundled home a corner with the last kick of the game to leave table-topping Chonburi a point clear of Singapore's Home United, with third-placed Citizen a further three points off the pace.
"It was a great effort from the players. We concentrated on defending in the first half because Chonburi are very strong. In the second half we focused on attacking, but they took advantage of our mistakes and took a 3-1 lead. But we never gave up and it was a great effort," said Citizen coach Chu Kwok Kuen.
"We scored in added time and at that moment we were not thinking about a draw or winning, we just wanted to make the score more respectable. It is an extra bonus that we can get a tie. A 3-2 defeat is not a bad defeat, but a 3-3 draw is an extra bonus for us."
Chonburi took the game to Citizen from the first whistle, but after eight minutes the home side took the lead against the run of play as the visiting defence were caught square just inside their own half and Nakamura raced clear before coolly lifting the ball over exposed goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool from just inside the area.
The lead, though, lasted just 12 minutes as Chonburi were rewarded for their early dominance. Natthaphong ghosted in at the back post to hook a low cross from French midfielder Geoffrey Doumeng back across the face of goal and into the net with goalkeeper Tse Tak Him rooted to the spot.
Chonburi continued to dominate but lacked a cutting edge up front, while Citizen posed a constant counterattacking threat and came close to regaining the lead after 32 minutes as Sham Kwok Keung shot narrowly wide following a patient build-up from the home side.
Citizen goalkeeper Tse almost handed Chonburi the lead two minutes before the break after failing to hold a rasping drive from Cote d'Ivoire defender Fode Diakite, but the custodian made amends with a smart reflex save to deny Ludovick Kengne as the Cameroonian striker pounced on the loose ball inside the six-yard area.
Opposing captains Therdsak Chaiman and Festus Baise both came close to a breakthrough in a cagey start to the second half with both sides struggling for quality possession.
But with 21 minutes remaining Chonburi completed the turnaround as Pipob's towering header from Therdsak's inviting right wing delivery gave Tse no chance.
And with two minutes remaining, Sukree found space on the right side of the Citizen penalty area with the home side pushing forward and squeezed his low shot between Tse and the upright.
Chiu's glancing header in the first minute of stoppage-time appeared to have handed Citizen a late consolation but the home side completed the comeback in dramatic fashion as Sham turned home Wong Yiu Fu's corner following a melee inside the Chonburi six-yard area.
"I am not satisfied with the performance of the defenders. We always have the same problem in away games. This match was the opportunity to overcome this problem, but we failed. We have the same problem with away games in the local league," said Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul.
"I have a lot of respect for Citizen's spirit. Even though they were 3-1 down, they came back. They were focused, concentrated and determined and fought very bravely to come back.
"We still are aiming for first place in the group. A win in this match would have made it comfortable for us, but we now still have to fight."
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38752-citizen-v-chonburi
Chonburi 1-0 Yangon Utd
Tuesday 24th April, 2012
Therdsak Chaiman fired home a superb winner as Thai side Chonburi confirmed their place in the knockout rounds of the AFC Cup for the third time in four seasons after edging Yangon United of Myanmar 1-0 in a feisty encounter on Tuesday.
The inaugural AFC Champions League MVP rifled a shot into the top corner of the net just after the hour mark at the Chonburi Stadium to secure a deserved victory for the home side, who dominated the match but squandered a number of chances.
Yangon United adopted a physical approach and had few opportunities as they remained bottom of Group G with two points from five games. Chonburi stayed top of the group with 11 points, one ahead of second-placed Home United of Singapore, who beat Hong Kong side Citizen 2-1 in the night's other group game to advance alongside Chonburi into the last 16.
The top two teams will meet in Singapore in a fortnight's time to decide the top spot in the group.
Yangon threatened early on with David Htan making a strong run down the left flank before he centred the ball into a dangerous position in the Chonburi box where goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool dived low to gather.
But it was a rare foray for the visitors who spent much of the game camped in their own half as Chonburi piled on the pressure. Ludovick Kengne and Kroekrit Thawikan were both off target with free headers in the box while Therdsak went close on the half-hour mark when he curled a free-kick from 25 metres just wide of the left post.
The hosts intensified their attacks after the interval with Kazuto Kushida firing just over the crossbar from 30 metres, substitute Pipob On-Mo shooting wide when he was sent clear by Therdsak's deft pass and Geoffrey Doumeng hitting the base of the post with a long-range volley.
But the home side's pressure finally told in the 62nd minute when Pipob slipped a through pass to Therdsak who fired a superb shot into the top right corner of the Yangon net which gave goalkeeper Naing Zayar Tun no chance.
Nurul Sriyankem should have added a second two minutes from time when he went clear on goal after defender Aung Thaik had slipped and lost possession. But the striker drove his effort against the base of the post as yet another Chonburi chance went begging.
Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul was pleased with the result but lamented his team's profligate finishing.
"Of course, many of our players did not take their opportunities and we were too extravagant in front of goal. They should have done better, especially Nurul Sriyankem at the end, although he was just trying do his best but simply shot at the post," said the Chonburi boss.
"But this is football and whether it is five-goal or a one-goal win, we still have three points."
Yangon United coach Eric Williams was left to rue his side's third defeat in five games although he lauded the spirit of his side.
"Of course this result means that we cannot advance in this competition but we have demonstrated that we can battle hard and create difficulties for other teams," said the Australian.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/38913-chonburi-1-0-yangon-united
Home Utd 1-2 Chonburi
Tuesday 8th May, 2012
Pipob On-mo and Kotchaplayuk Noppanon scored in either half as Thai Premier League runners-up Chonburi secured a home tie in the last 16 of the AFC Cup after edging out Home United 2-1 on Tuesday to top Group G ahead of the Singapore Cup winners.
Pipob struck after four minutes and despite second-placed Home United improving as the contest progressed, substitute Kotchaplayuk settled the tie with 16 minutes remaining as AFC Champions League play-off losers Chonburi completed an unbeaten Group Stage campaign.
Chonburi will now entertain the runner-up from Group E in the Round of 16, while Home United face a trip to the Middle East in a fortnight’s time after Indra Sahdan Daud’s 85th minute strike arrived too late for the Singaporeans.
Despite the win, Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul still felt that there was room for improvement by his side.
“I’m not really that satisfied with our performance tonight. It seemed that players were more afraid not to lose because we had not been able to win an away win in this competition before tonight,” said Withaya.
“However, I am very happy with how our young players did and I feel that the future is very bright for them. They may still be lacking in experience and decision-making skills but I believe that if they can show the right attitude they can challenge our more senior players for a place on the first team.”
With home advantage in the last 16 at stake for the winner, Pipob handed the visitors the ideal start as the Chonburi captain took advantage of an untimely slip in the Home United defence to meet a right wing cross at the near post and guide a strike across the face of goal with goalkeeper Lionel Lewis only able to help the ball on its way into the back of the net.
Chonburi continued to dominate the opening exchanges and were unlucky not to be two goals ahead just three minutes later as Kengne Ludovick’s header cannoned off the face of the Home United crossbar.
And after a last-ditch goal-line clearance from Rosman Sulaiman denied Therdsak Chaiman after 28 minutes, Home United coach introduced striker Frederic Mendy before half-time in an attempt to turn the game in favour of the home side.
Home United did finish the second half strongly and Mendy wasted a glorious chance eight minutes before the break before Pipob had a goal ruled out for offside just before half-time.
The home side came out strong at the start of the second half and almost equalised in spectacular style as Franklin Clovis Anzite’s spectacular acrobatic overhead kick from inside the area was pushed away by an equally eye-catching save from Chonburi goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool.
Sulaiman then again came to Home United’s rescue as the defender produced another goal-line clearance to deny Chonburi substitute Kotchaplayuk.
But with 16 minutes remaining Kotchaplayuk raced onto Therdsak’s slide rule pass, and after taking two touches to break into the Home United penalty area, lifted the ball over advancing goalkeeper Lewis.
With five minutes remaining Anzite laid the ball off to Indra Sahdan on the edge of the Chonburi penalty area following a swift break from the home side and the substitute swept home from the edge of the area to claim a consolation for Home United.
Home United now face a daunting trip to the Middle East later this month, a journey that their Korean coach Lee Lim-saeng would have preferred to have avoided.
“It will be difficult for us to progress because we have to travel to the Middle East to play in the Round of 16,” said Lee.
“We have played better on our home ground this year and fatigue will also be a factor for us because it is a long trip and we also have to play games in the S-League and the Singapore Cup in the next few weeks. Now I have to figure out the best way that we can cope with all of these games.
“I congratulate Chonburi but I thought that our players worked very hard tonight and there is no way I can blame them for the result. I take full responsibility for it.”
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39076-home-united-1-2-chonburi
Chonburi 1-0 Al-Zawra'a
Tuesday 22nd May, 2012
Thailand’s Chonburi became the first side to qualify for the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup as an early strike from captain Pipob On-mo proved the difference against Iraq’s Al Zawra’a in Tuesday’s last 16 tie.
Pipob turned home Therdsak Chaiman’s cross after just eight minutes for his third goal of the campaign as Group G winners Chonburi, who featured in the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League in 2008, qualified for the last eight of the AFC Cup for the third time in four years having previously progressed in both 2009 and 2011.
Group E runners-up Al Zawra'a were aiming to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, but failed to produce a clear-cut chance and had goalkeeper Ahmed Ali Jenur to thank for keeping the visitors in the contest.
“We missed many chances, I can’t believe my boys made a lot of mistakes tonight,” said Chonburi coach Withaya Laohakul, who saw his side lose to Korea Republic’s Pohang Steelers in the AFC Champions League qualifiers earlier this year.
“Of course I am happy with our game, but if you ask my about the performance, I think we should play much better than this.
“Al Zawra’a is a great team, I think they are best team in Middle East zone. Hopefully we can meet a good team again in the next round.”
Chonburi took the game to Al Zawra’a from the first whistle and were rewarded after just eight minutes as Therdsak found space on the right and crossed for the on-rushing Pipob to give goalkeeper Jenur no chance at his near post with a first time finish from the edge of the six-yard area.
Al Zawra’a settled into the contest as the half progressed but the visitors failed to create a clear-cut chance, although Chonburi were unable to convert their continued dominance into a second goal.
But in first half stoppage time Jenur had to be at his best to keep the visitors within touching distance at the break as the Al Zawra’a goalkeeper produced a superb save to push away a towering header from Fode Diakite as the Ivorian defender rose to meet Therdsak’s rght-wing corner.
Shortly after replacing Therdsak, Nurul Sriyankem went close for Chonburi with 15 minutes remaining but Jenur again came to Al Zawra’a’s rescue following a cagey start to the second half.
With the clock ticking down Al Zawra’a were unable to find a way back into the contest and Chonburi's lead was never under-threat in the closing stages.
“There is nothing much to talk about, but I have to say congratulations to Chonburi. They played well and scored with their first chance,” said Al Zawra'a coach Radhi Shnaishel.
“We had some injured players and we were tired after a long trip to Thailand, but Chonburi are a good team and they deserve to win.
“Al Zawra’a had a lot of chances, but we made a lot of mistakes.”
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39198-chonburi-1-al-zawraa-0
Chonbui 1-2 Al-Shorta
Tuesday 18th September, 2012
A pair of goals late in the first half saw Syrian champions Al Shorta grab the advantage in their AFC Cup tie against Chonburi as they came from behind to snatch a 2-1 away win against the Thai Premier League side on Tuesday.
Brazilian Thiago Cunha had given the hosts the lead at the Chonburi Stadium after only three minutes but goals by Odai Al Jafal and Geilson just before the break put the visitors on top.
Chonburi exerted plenty of pressure in the second half but the Syrian side held out to take a significant advantage into the return game in Amman, Jordan, next Wednesday.
Al Shorta, who have not played a competitive match since May following the suspension of their domestic league season, arrived in Thailand nearly a week early to acclimatise and prepare for the match.
But they were caught cold by their hosts who took an early lead when a long ball from the back picked out Thiago on the edge of the Al Shorta box. The Brazilian controlled the ball and made space for himself before firing a low shot that snuck between Al Shorta goalkeeper Mahmoud Karkar and his post.
The home side could have added to their lead in the 12th minute through Therdsak Chaiman who launched a trademark long range effort on goal only to be denied by Karkar who was in the right place to stop his effort.
Al Shorta recovered from the early shock of falling behind and gradually got back into the match.
Abd Al Naser Hasan had a good chance to level the score in the 24th minute but his shot from outside the area was kept out by Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool’s diving save.
The equaliser would arrive though in the 40th minute as Brazilian forward chipped the ball towards Al Jafal who volleyed a first-time effort past Sinthaweechai.
The Brazilian then turned from provider to scorer a minute before the break. He failed to score on his initial effort as he attempted to volley home a cross from the right by Qussai Habib, but he kept his cool and found the time and space to fire in a powerful shot from close range.
Chonburi turned up the pressure after the break as they tried to level the score. Just after the hour, substitute Kotchaplayuk Noppanon made his way to the area and fired a powerful shot that Abd Al Naser Hasan did well to block with his body.
From the resulting corner kick, another substitute Arthit Sunthornphit got away a shot that Karkar kept out with the aid of his crossbar.
Karkar made a superb reaction save to keep out a header by Chonburi skipper Chonlatit Jantakam four minutes from time before Thiago shot into the side netting in stoppage time to add to the home side’s frustrations.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/39967-chonburi-1-2-al-shorta
Al Shorta 2-4 Chonburi (aet)
Wednesday 26th Spetember, 2012
AL SHORTA 2-4 CHONBURI (aet)
Brazilian striker Thiago Cunha bagged a hat-trick which included two crucial goals in extra-time as Chonburi of Thailand came from behind to beat Syrian champions Al Shorta 4-2 on Wednesday to reach the AFC Cup semi-finals for the first time.
Chonburi trailed 2-1 on aggregate after losing at home in the first leg of the quarter-final but they turned the match around when captain Pipob On-mo and Thaigo scored late in the first half of the return match at the Prince Mohammad International Stadium in Zarqa, Jordan.
Oday Al Jafal got Al Shorta back on level terms with a penalty in the second half and Ali Ghalioum, who had earlier missed another penalty, appeared to have won the tie for the Syrian club when he scored three minutes into extra time.
But Thiago scored again in the 111th minute to level things once again and he then completed his hat-trick in stoppage time to seal a memorable 5-4 aggregate win for the Thai club.
Having been eliminated in the quarter-finals twice in the past three years, Chonburi can now look forward to a semi-final against Iraqi champions Arbil with the first leg in Iraq next Tuesday.
Al Shorta’s win in Thailand meant that Chonburi had to score twice in the return match to avoid elimination and they began in positive fashion with Thiago forcing a good save out of goalkeeper Mahmoud Karkar with a ninth minute header.
However, it was the Syrians who had the better goal-scoring chances early on as Al Jafal headed wide of an open goal and then hit the woodwork twice in two minutes.
Their best opportunity to extend their lead arrived in the 32nd minute when goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool’s challenge on Ghalioum resulted in a penalty. But the midfielder’s attempt to outwit Sinthaweechai from the spot backfired as his weak chip was easily gathered by the Chonburi goalkeeper.
Ghalioum would have more reason to rue that miss as Chonburi scored twice in three minutes to turn the tie on its head.
Jetsadakorn Hemdaeng played a big part in the first goal in the 35th minute, breaking clear on the right flank and drawing Karkar off his line before squaring the ball to Pipob who initially mis-controlled the pass but recovered in time to slam his shot into the net.
The Thais then went ahead thanks to some quick thinking by Thiago. Hamdi Al Massri tried to dribble past the Brazilian on the right flank but when Pipob nipped in to tackle the Al Shorta defender, the ball squirmed free to Thiago, who alertly spotted Karkar off his goalline and sent an accurate lob from 30 metres into the unguarded net.
Al Shorta were able to regain their poise after the half-time break and they were given the opportunity to level the score when the referee awarded them a second penalty after Geilson went down in the box after a challenge by Fode Diakite.
Al Jafal made no mistake this time, blasting the ball past Sinthaweechai to make it 3-3 on aggregate.
Choburi had a great chance to win the match in regulation time but Jetsadakorn opted to pass to Thiago rather than shoot when he was sent clear on goal.
And that miss appeared costly when Al Shorta scored again three minutes into extra-time. Geilson centred the ball from the right of the Chonburi box to Ghalioum, who controlled the ball on the edge of the six-yard box before despatching it past Sinthaweechai’s despairing dive.
Chonburi were not about to throw in the towel though and they would take a 3-2 lead in the game and level the aggregate score once again in the 111th minute when Thiago fired home after Arthit Sunthornphit’s free-kick from the right had been headed back across goal by Chonlatit Jantakam.
It would have meant a penalty shootout if the score had remained that way as away goals do not count in extra-time in the AFC Cup. But in stoppage time, Thiago sealed the win for the Thais as he fired past Karkar at his near post after a delightful through pass had sent him clear of the Al Shorta defence.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40121-shorta-vs-chonburi
Arbil 4-1 Chonburi
Tuesday 2nd October, 2012
Striker Amjed Radhi scored twice as Arbil took a huge step towards becoming the first club from Iraq to reach the AFC Cup final with a crushing 4-1 win over Thailand’s Chonburi at the Arbil Stadium on Tuesday.
Radhi opened the scoring in the first leg of the semi-final with a cheeky back-heel in the first half and restored the home side’s lead in the 50thminute after the visitors had got back on level terms through Pipob On-Mo early in the second half.
An own goal by Suttinun Phukhom extended Arbil’s advantage before substitute Saleh Sadeer fired home a long-range screamer to put the Iraqi champions firmly in the driver’s seat before the return match in Thailand later this month.
Despite feeling the effects of playing their second match in the Middle East in just six days, with two exhausting flights across the Middle East sandwiched in between, Chonburi began the match brightly and could have broken the deadlock as early as the eighth minute when French midfielder Geoffrey Doumeng created an opening for himself on the left flank but sent his powerful shot narrowly wide.
Arbil took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to an ingenious finish by Radhi, who received the ball after Halkard Mulla Mohammad had cut it back from the right touchline and casually flicked it with his right heel between the legs of Chonburi goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool.
Despite conceding that goal, Chonburi continued to attack and very nearly got back on level terms on the half-hour mark after a free-kick by evergreen playmaker Therdsak Chaiman came back off the crossbar.
However, the Thai side would get back on level terms within 90 seconds of the restart as Pipob shook off the challenge of Ugandan defender Ivan Bukenya to force his way into the box and fire home the equaliser.
The home fans were shocked into a brief silence but they were soon cheering again when Halkard’s cross was knocked down by Nadim Sabag for an unmarked Radhi to slot the ball home for his second goal of the night.
Arbil began to turn the screw and Luay Salah nearly added a third when he fired a long-range effort past Sinthaweechai only to see his effort come back off the crossbar.
But the home side would make it 3-1 in the 66th minute when Halkard’s cross from the right was turned into the Chonburi net by defender Suttinun.
Sadeer would then net a fourth for Arbil with 16 minutes left when he launched a stinging drive from 25 metres that sailed past Sinthaweechai into the top corner of the Chonburi net to give Arbil a comfortable lead to take to Thailand for the return game.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40226-arbil-vs-chonburi
Chonburi 1-4 Arbil (agg 2-8)
Tuesday 23rd October, 2012
Arbil booked their place in the final of the AFC Cup on Tuesday as the Iraqi side held off a valiant but doomed attempt by Thailand's Chonburi to overhaul an insurmountable first-leg deficit to progress 8-2 on aggregate.
A 4-1 win in the first leg in Iraq was matched in the second leg as Nizar Mahrous's side become the first club from the country to advance to the final of a continental competition since Al Zawra'a reached the deciding game of the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 2000, when they lost out to Japan's Shimizu S-Pulse.
Amjed Rahdi scored twice in the second half at the Chonburi Stadium as the Iraqis sealed another 4-1 and secure their spot in the final as the hosts fell well short in what was always going to be a nigh impossible quest after the first leg.
Chonburi needed an early goal if they were to harbour any realistic hope of hauling themselves back into the contest and give their fans something to cheer, but by the 18th minute Withaya Laohakul's side had fallen further behind.
After Nabil Sabah had seen his shot pushed away for a corner by Chonburi goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool, Saad Abdulameer met Sabah's set-piece from the right with a glancing header that found the far corner of the goal.
Chonburi, though, refused to be disheartened and sought a way back into the game.
Less than two minutes after Abdulameer's opener, Pipob On-mo's shot was deflected against the Arbil post while, a further five minutes later, Suttinun Phukhom ensured the Thai side's slim hopes remained alive when he slotted home from close range after Thiago Cunha had flicked Arthit Sunthornpit's corner into his path.
Still trailing by three goals as the second half commenced, the task was to become insurmountable for Chonburi in the 63rd minute when Radhi claimed his first of the night as his shot took a wicked deflection off Fode Bangaly Diakite before arcing above Sinthaweechai and over the line.
Eight minutes later and the contest was as good as over when Radhi was again on target, this time stabbing the ball over the line following a knockdown by Ahmed Ibrahim and Mustafa Ahmad completed the rout in the 82nd minute to set up a meeting with either Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait SC in the final on November 2.
Full story : http://www.the-afc.com/en/tournaments/clubs/afc-cup/936-afc-cup-2012/40371-chonburi-v-arbil
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