Melbourne City left to rue late penalty drama in AFC Champions League loss

Melbourne City suffer AFC Champions League loss to Arthur Papas' Buriram | Highlights

Melbourne City have been dragged back into an AFC Champions League dogfight after losing 1-0 at home to Buriram United thanks to a late penalty.

Despite dominating possession City had carved out few significant chances against a Thai side content under former Newcastle boss Arthur Papas to sit and try to sneak a goal on the break – which in the end is exactly what they did on Wednesday.

A win could have confirmed City’s qualification from their group into the knockout stages but they will have to win at least one of their two remaining group games to make sure of going through.

Twice in the first half City thought they had taken the lead, first when Jamie Maclaren’s spectacular volley was chalked off for Marin Jakolis movig marginally offside earlier in the move.

Minutes later a splendid move begun by Curtis Good’s sweeping pass saw Jakolis drive in a cross, Maclaren’s shot getting saved and Arslan tucking away the rebound – only for the offside flag to rise again.

The frustration grew for City as their attacks ran aground on Buriram’s determined defending – occasionally the Thai side ventured forward, but the biggest danger to City came from their own mistakes as Nuno Reis and Jamie Young both got away with careless errors near their own goal.

Jakolis’s night seemed to be about to get a whole lot worse when he tracked a run from Goran Causic into the City box and collided from behind, sending Causic sprawling. Though referee Majed Alshamrani said no penalty, his VAR invited him to reconsider – but again the Saudi referee ruled out a spot-kick.

City came forward again, but with five minutes left they got caught out horribly when Buriram broke forward and a cross struck the arm of Aziz Behich. Though the Socceroo protested his innocence the penalty was inarguable, and comfortably converted by Causic.


Tolgay Arzlan was City’s brightest spark, always looking for an inventive forward pass; he released Jamie Maclaren for one effort in the first half and thought he’d scored his side’s opening goal, only to be denied by the offside flag. On a dour night of few chances, it looks like Arzlan will be key to any City revival in the A-Leagues this season.


Pick either one of City’s two disallowed goals – in both cases, Marin Jakolis went a fraction of a second too soon and was offside. Had the Croatian winger timed either run better, City would almost certainly have been celebrating a home win.


City drop to second in their group thanks to Ventforet Kofu’s 4-1 win earlier on Wednesday. If Vidmar’s side avoids defeat away to Ventforet on November 29, a win in the last game at home to last-placed Zhejiang should be enough for City to go through to the knockout stages.