Pathum faces an uphill battle in Jeonbuk

No 10 BG Pathum’s Teerasil Dangda in action against Ratchaburi in Thai League 1. PR

Thailand’s Premier League winner BG Pathum faces an intimidating assignment at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in South Korea in the round of 16 of the AFC Champions League today.

The task becomes more difficult for BG as they will not only be without three key players but also coach Aurilio Vidmar.

The missing players are defenders Victor Cardozo and Andres Tunez and prolific striker Diogo Luis Santo who are all injured.

Australian Vidmar did not visit South Korea due to complicated travel restrictions from Covid-19.

Vidmar guided Pathum beyond the group stage in June on his first assignment during his second stint with the Rabbits, the only Thai team remaining in the continental club championship this season.

Thai strikers Teerasil Dangda and Chenrop Samphaodi are likely to start against two-time ACL champion Jeonbuk in a single game, with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals.

In Diogo’s absence, the duo spearheaded the team’s attack on Ratchaburi in Thailand’s Ligue 1 on Friday.

They proved to be deadly, each scoring one goal in their 2-0 victory.

As Jeonbuk aims to reach the quarter-finals for the ninth time, BG is looking to become the first Thai team to reach the last eight since Buriram United in 2013.

After winning the ACL in 2006 and 2016, Jeonbuk has underperformed by his standards in recent years, with a quarterfinal appearance in 2018, followed by a round of 16 and group stage eliminations. .

In the group stage, Jeonbuk beat Thailand’s Chiang Rai United twice, while Pathum lost twice to ACL title holders Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea.

In yesterday’s action, Japan’s Nagoya Grampus Eight beat South Koreans Daegu 4-2 to reach the quarter-finals.

Saudi giants Al Hilal comfortably beat Iranian Esteghlal 2-0 on Monday.

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