Coach Alexandre Gama has called on Buriram United to show the same winning attitude in Wednesday’s AFC Champions League clash with Japanese treble winners Gamba Osaka which has seen the Thailand champions top Group F with a 100% record heading into the halfway stage.
Quarter-finalists in the 2013 edition, Buriram were eliminated in the group stage of last year’s tournament but have begun their latest continental campaign with back-to-back wins over Korean FA Cup winners Seongnam FC and China’s Guangzhou R&F.
And Gama will be looking for another resilient performance on the road when Buriram travel to Osaka to face the 2008 champions, with Gamba yet to pick up a point following two defeats.
“Though we won two games and are leading in the group, we have a long way to go. I only care about the next opponent,” said Buriram coach Gama following the win over Guangzhou R&F.
“We have more games to go and my players have to keep the same attitude all the time. It is too early to talk about qualification.
“Regardless of who our opponent is, I always have faith in my own team, with strong hope that they can show their ability.”
Group E table-toppers Kashiwa Reysol aside, J.League representatives have struggled in the early rounds of the AFC Champions League this year and Kashima Antlers will face a tough task to reverse that trend against 2013 champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Wednesday.
Guangzhou Evergrande have amassed a perfect record in Group H following wins over FC Seoul and Western Sydney Wanderers, two sides who meet in the Korean capital also on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, A-League champions Brisbane Roar take on two-time Asian champions Suwon Samsung in Group G, with table-topping Beijing Guoan facing Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in the West, Uzbekistan champions Pakhtakor will look to strengthen their position at the top of Group B when they entertain inaugural champions Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates in Tashkent on Wednesday.
Unbeaten Al Ain are yet to pick up a win in this year’s campaign having reached the semi-finals last year, but victory over Samvel Babayan’s side could see them leapfrog their hosts into pole position group.
Also in Group B on Wednesday, Iran Pro League leaders Naft Tehran will look to get their first-ever AFC Champions league victory when they welcome Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab to the Azadi Stadium.
Finally, Group D leaders Al Ahli of Saudi Arabia meet Iran’s Tractorsazi Tabriz in Jeddah, while UAE champions Al Ahli face Nasaf of Uzbekistan in Dubai.
CAPTION – Thailand champions Buriram United currently top Group F with a 100% record ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Japanese treble winners Gamba Osaka in the AFC Champions League.