<
>
2017 AFC Champions League, Group Stage

Muang Thong hold Ulsan Hyundai to 0-0 draw to remain unbeaten in ACL

Muang Thong United put on another good showing against Ulsan Hyundai. Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

Muang Thong United goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan was unbeatable as the Thai champions held Ulsan Hyundai to a 0-0 draw in the AFC Champions League (ACL) Group E clash in South Korea.

Kawin had to be at his best in the first half as he earned his eighth clean sheet in nine competitive games this season. But Muang Thong were more enterprising in the second half and came close the winning goal when Teerasil Dangda brought the best out of Kim Yong-Dae.

Ulsan almost snatched a winner in added time, but it would have been harsh on the Thai side who had done enough to earn a point.

Former Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Lee Ho was not fit enough to start for Muang Thong, and settled for a place on the bench on his return to South Korea.

In front of a sparse crowd, the visitors created the first opportunity after three minutes. Chanathip Songkrasin took the ball just outside the box and fired in a powerful shot that Yong-Dae did well to push wide.

From the resulting corner, Adison Promrak had a free header but got the contact wrong and headed across goal.

Muang Thong suffered an early injury blow when Theerathon Bunmathan took a painful knock to the back of the leg from Ivan Kovacec. The Ulsan striker was unlucky to be booked as he didn't see the Thai left-back coming when he made the challenge. Theerathon tried to continue after treatment but was soon replaced by Peerapat Notchaiaya.

After Muang Thong's bright start, the hosts began to see more of the ball but without troubling Kawin in the visitors' goal in a scrappy opening 20 minutes.

A wild long-range effort from Sanukran Thinjom was all the Thai side could muster as they struggled to impose themselves and keep possession in midfield.

Ulsan gave Kawin his first real save to make after 27 minutes when Mislav Orsic cut in from the left and fired in a low right-foot shot that the keeper kept out.

The pressure was building on the away defence and they were relieved to see Xisco Jimenez clear the ball after Lee Ki-Je whipped in a dangerous corner.

In the 31st minute, Orsic again cut in from the left, but his shot from 20 yards was saved by Kawin. A minute later, the keeper was called into action when he had to push out Jeong Dong-Ho's cross.

And Kawin had to look lively when Han Seung-Gyu's curling effort from the edge of the box took a nasty bounce in front of him, but the Thailand keeper reacted well to push the effort wide.

Muang Thong had a half-chance on 35 minutes when Sanukran ghosted into the box to get on the end of a throw-in, but he pulled his snapshot on the turn well wide.

Kim In-Sung was next to try his luck for the Koreans but he shot past the post after a promising run from the right flank.

Ulsan ended the half strongly and, in added time, In-Sung blew the best chance of the game so far. Orsic found him with a deep cross from the left and he looked certain to score but pushed his effort into the ground and the ball bounced harmlessly into the grateful arms of Kawin.

The second half started with a familiar pattern as Orsic once again cut in from the left and got a shot away, but it was high and wide.

The home side continued to dominate and Kovacec fired over after excellent work from Jong-Ho down the left wing. As the game passed the hour mark, Jong-Ho's header from Ki-Je's cross flashed just wide and it looked just a matter of time before the Korean side made the breakthrough.

But the Thais had a great opportunity to open the scoring against the run of play when Xisco put Teerasil through on goal. The striker struck a powerful left-footed shot from 16 yards but Yong-Dae made a fine stop to deny the visitors a shock lead.

Lee Ho came on to face his former club for the final 20 minutes as Sanukran made way.

Normal service resumed a couple of minutes later when Naoaki Aoyama had to be at full stretch to deny Kovacec a clear sight of goal.

With 15 minutes to go, Ulsan seemed to be running out of ideas and Muang Thong were growing in confidence that they might be able to hold on for a precious point.

They could even have had thoughts of winning the game as Peerapat hit a powerful effort just over the bar from the edge of the box.

The home side's frustrations were summed up when Ki-Je sliced an attempted cross horribly wide under no pressure.

In an attempt to go for the victory, Ulsan bought on Dimitiri Petratos for Kovacec and Lee Yeong-Jae for Seung-Gyu with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Yeong-Jae almost made an immediate impact as he swung in a dangerous cross from the right that evaded everyone and slipped just past the post.

But at the other end, Tristan Do hit an even better cross from the right wing, but it was too far ahead of Teerasil and just behind Xisco.

The hosts tried to step it up again and Kim Yong-Jin replaced Jeong Dong-Ho in the final throw of the dice from Ulsan boss Kim Do-Hoon with just three minutes left on the clock.

Just when it looked like Muang Thong were holding on to a hard-earned point, Orsic crossed for Yong-Jin and he was denied only by a sensational block inside the six-yard box.

The Thai champions breathed again and their point sees them in second place in Group E before Ulsan's visit to Thailand in April.

Betting Odds
Presented By

New Customers Only
Up to £100 in Bet Credits

AFC Champions League News