02/19/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/19/2019 11:17
Hiroshima: Taishi Matsumoto scored the decisive spot kick as Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima scraped into the 2019 AFC Champions League Group Stage after defeating Thailand's Chiangrai United 4-3 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the final play-off round on Tuesday.
Chiangrai had the first sight on goal inside 10 minutes at a saturated Hiroshima Athletic Stadium when Brazilian defender Brinner headed Lee Yong-rae's corner from the left straight at goalkeeper Keisuke Osako.
Hiroshima were then given the perfect chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute when Tanasak Srisai handled Yusuke Minagawa's goal bound effort and the referee pointed to the spot, only for Minagawa to see his ensuing spot kick well saved by custodian Saranon Anuin.
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The hosts missed another golden opportunity to go in front on the half hour when Sho Sasaki flicked on Gakuto Notsuda's corner from the left but the unmarked Karl Salomonsson headed over from close in.
Hiroshima continued to have the better of the possession in the early stages of the second half but struggled to create any clear-cut chances. Minagawa headed over the bar from Notsuda's corner shortly after the hour as the deadlock remained.
With just under 20 minutes to play, the J.League side twice came close to going in front within the space of a minute, first when Kosei Shibasaki saw his effort from 18 yards expertly tipped over the bar by Saranon, then when Hayato Araki's close-range attempt from Higashi Shunki's ensuing corner clipped the top of the bar on the way over.
As the game entered its final 10 minutes Chiangrai forward Bill had a rare sight on goal when the Brazilian capitalised on poor Hiroshima defending and muscled his way into the box, but saw his left-foot strike superbly tipped wide by Osako.
Brazilian striker Patric came on for Hiroshima soon after but the opening goal remained elusive and the game went to an additional 30 minutes.
There was then drama in the final few minutes as Patric thought he had scored only to see his effort ruled off for offside as the match went to penalties.
Hiroshima netted their first three penalties while, after Bill scored Chiangrai's first, both Tanasak and Phitiwat Sookjitthammakul were off target. Chaiyawat Buran and Peeraphong Pichitchotirat each scored either side of Hayao Kawabe's miss to mean Matsumoto was left with the chance to finish the tie.
The midfielder dispatched confidently to Saranon's left as Hiroshima took their place in Group F alongside China PR's Guangzhou Evergrande, Korea Republic's Daegu FC and Australia's Melbourne Victory.