Chonburi square up to Melbourne (March 19, 2008)


Thailand League winners Chonburi face a tricky test against Australian champions Melbourne Victory in their second AFC Champions League game today. The Group G match, which kicks off at 7.30pm, has been moved from the eastern province to Bangkok's Supachalasai stadium to accommodate more fans.

Melbourne got off to a good start with a 2-0 win over South Korea's Chunnam Dragons in their opener while Chonburi secured a 1-1 draw at Japan's Gamba Osaka.

Chonburi coach Jadet Meelarp said the match against Melbourne would be tough but he was confident that his men would take all the three points.

''We have watched the tape of Melbourne Victory. They are a good team. Their players are tall and very strong in the air,'' he said.

''But we gained experience from playing against Gamba Osaka, whose players are also tall. We will use our team work to beat them. Our target is three points.''

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick was diplomatic, saying it would be difficult to get a point from the home side.

''To play away from home is difficult because Chonburi are a strong side and it will be a tough game for us but we hope to get a point from this match,'' Merrick said.

Merrick is pinning his hopes on Australia striker Archie Thompson.

The visitors also have four Olympic players and one former Australia international.

He said he had watched Chonburi play against Bangkok Bank in the Thailand League and felt they had a good attacking game.

''They are good in both attack and defence and have good technique,'' he said.

In Beijing, Krung Thai Bank, who suffered a 9-1 home defeat against Japan's Kashima Antlers in their opener, need a result against Beijing Guoan to keep alive their slim hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages.

Guoan will be heavy favourites after beating Vietnam's Nam Dinh 3-1 in Hanoi last week.