AFC Champions League Preview: Buriram United v Esteghlal
By Football News
Buriram United will look to overturn a one-goal deficit in the second leg of their AFC Champions League quarter-final against Esteghlal.
The Thai Premier League leaders suffered a 1-0 defeat to their opponents from Iran in the first leg last month.
Khosro Heydari scored the only goal of the game in the second minute in front of a crowd of more than 95,000 fans in Tehran.
But Buriram will feel confident about their hopes of progression on Wednesday given their outstanding recent form.
Since that first-leg loss they have won five games on the trot, scoring 15 goals in the process, with their latest triumph being a 2-0 success over BEC Tero Sasana on Saturday.
In the form of Spaniard Carmelo and Javier Patino of the Philippines, Buriram possess two of the best forwards in Thailand.
Carmelo has scored 21 league goals in 26 matches this season including six in his last three fixtures.
Patino has also proved a threat, adding 13 strikes, as Buriram top the league by five points ahead of Muang Thong United.
Buriram are unbeaten in home matches during this season's AFC Champions League, an effort made even more impressive by the fact that they only qualified for the competition through a play-off.
The Thai side edged Brisbane Roar on penalties in a knockout fixture in February, a result that saw them earn a place in the group stages.
And although their away form has been patchy, their efforts at the Thunder Castle Stadium have seen them through to the last eight.
Esteghlal are just nine games through their season in the Persian Gulf Cup, but they have failed to win their last three.
Zob Ahan defeated them on Thursday, 2-0, and as a result they sit sixth on the table.
Esteghlal have only lost twice on the road in 2013, although both losses have come in the last month.
And Buriram will enter the match as favourites given their recent form, with a big crowd expected for the second leg.