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Group G: Ratchaburi FC snatch point to dent Pohang Steelers' AFC Champions League hopes


Bangkok: Ratchaburi FC of Thailand ended their run of defeats in Group G of the 2021 AFC Champions League after holding Korea Republic’s FC Pohang Steelers 0-0 at the Rajamangala Stadium on Sunday.

Neither side could find the back of the net in a match of missed chances as Ratchaburi secured their first ever AFC Champions League point, a result which means that Pohang's hopes of winning the group were dashed after Japan's Nagoya Grampus defeated Johor Darul Ta'zim of Malaysia in Sunday's late match.

The Korean side must now hope to advance as one of the best three runners-up from the five groups being contested in the East zone.

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Ratchaburi, having not scored in the competition, made four changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Japan’s Nagoya Grampus on Matchday Four with Steeven Langil returning to the starting line-up.

It was a tough start for the Thai League 1 side as they found themselves almost immediately pinned in their own half against a Pohang team led by Lim Sang-Hyub and Boris Tashchy in attack.

Pohang could have secured the upper hand as early as the second minute when Lim Sang-Hyub made his way inside the box following Lee Seung-Mo’s through pass, but his shot was blocked by Ratchaburi’s Praweenwat Boonyong.

The K League side continued to dictate the pace of the game and came close to scoring again in the 17th minute through Lee Seung-Mo who, however, angled his header wide following Lim Sang-Hyub’s cross from the right.

Pohang had another chance to take the lead a minute later but Alexander Grant blasted his close-range volley above the bar off Kang Sang-Woo’s corner.

Ratchaburi almost punished Pohang for their misses just before the half-hour mark when they made the most of rare possession with Pathomchai Sueasakul testing goalkeeper Kang Hyeon-Mu from the centre of the box.

Ratchaburi continued to frustrate their opponents in the closing stages of the first half with Shin Kwang-Hoon and Go Young-Jun failing to find the target as the score remained 0-0 going into the break.

Pohang's dominance continued in the second half and they could have broken the deadlock when Lim Sang-Hyub sent a clever through pass to Lee Seung-Mo inside the box, but the midfielder just failed to reach the ball.

Both sides struggled to find a way through with Ratchaburi's Langil firing his long-range effort wide in the 63rd minute, while Pohang's Sin Jin-Ho angled his curling free-kick just off the mark moments later.

Ratchaburi will play Johor Darul Ta’zim in their final Group G tie on Wednesday, while Pohang face Nagoya Grampus with victory a must if they are to stand a chance of advancing to the Round of 16.

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