Preliminary Stage 2: Muangthong United 5-2 Johor Darul Ta'zim
Bangkok: Muanthong United of Thailand sealed a place in the play-off stage of the AFC Champions League 2018 after registering a comprehensive 5-2 win over Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim on Tuesday.
Muanthong had needed a penalty shootout to see off Johor Darul Ta'zim the last time they met in the preliminary stage in 2016 but no such drama was required this time around.
Muangthong enjoyed a dream start, with Sarach Yooyen giving them the lead after just seven minutes at the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok.
It was to get better for the Thai side and worse for the Malaysian champions as the home team doubled their lead 14 minutes later through Tristan Do.
Any hope Johor Darul Tazim, the 2015 AFC Cup champions, had of a comeback were dashed when Muanthong were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute.
Heberty Fernandes de Andrade converted and with a healthy lead in the bag, Muangthong took their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the first half.
They came out looking for more goals in the second half and were rewarded yet again in the 56th minute when Theerathon Bunmathan slotted home.
There was one more to come as de Andrade scored his second of the match in the 63rd minute.
Johor Darul Ta'zim pulled two back through Jorge Diaz in added-on time but by that time, Muanthong were already looking towards their play-off showdown against Kashiwa Reysol of Japan on January 30.