Muangthong United, despite a valiant effort, lost 3-1 to Kawasaki Frontale in the home game leg of the AFC Champions League Round of 16.
Muangthong United went ahead at 47 minutes on a goal from Teerasil, who continues his excellent form and goal scoring streak.
The first half, however, almost ended scoreless as both team traded chances, with Kawasaki Frontale having three attempts at goal and forcing Kawin into one save. Frontale threatened several times in the half, however key defensive blocks and tackles from Aoyama and Celio Santos denied the play.
Muangthong United played a tight defensive game, marking players closely and forcing Kawasaki to often work the ball to the defenders, unable to find a path forward.
The Kawasaki defense were not as successful containing the Kirin attack, due to high pressure from Wattana and Mongkol, and crisp passing and footwork from Chanathip and Teerasil. The Kirin didn't have their first attempt at goal, however, until the 25th minute when Chanathip struck one from inside the box, forcing the Frontale keeper into his first save.
At the 47th minute the pressure from Muangthong paid off. Teerasil took Theerathon's pass, which Chanathip cleverly stepped over, and hit a low shot towards the right post. The attempt was unexpected by Jung S R the Kawasaki keeper, and he was unable to make the save.
The second half began with Kawasaki Frontale head coach Oniki Toru bringing in Yu Kobayashi, who also plays striker with Japan's national team. Then, at the 58th minute Ryota Ohshima, another national team striker, entered the fray. Frontale were intent on getting onto the scoreboard and taking back this match.
The increased attack would pay off quickly, as Nakamura Kengo took advantage of a poor header clearance to take the ball in close for the equalizing goal at 65 minutes. This was followed by an excellent finish from Kobayashi just a few minutes later, and the Kirin were now a goal down.
Amazingly, Ohshima was subbed off at 75 minutes, having achieved the goal of helping his team gain the lead. Sure enough, with an additional goal at the 80th minute Kawasaki Frontale were able to repel the pressure applied by Muangthong United for the remaining 10 minutes.
The Kirin will travel to Japan and in one week time will play the away leg fixture. They'll need to win by 3 goals in order to advance to the quarter finals, a daunting task. Nevertheless, Muangthong did show they were able to hold their own and led the match for a spell.