Lion City Sailors held to goal-less ACL draw by Shandong Taishan
They huffed and puffed but the Lion City Sailors could not find their way past Shandong Taishan on Thursday (April 21), as their Asian Football Confederation Champions League Group F game ended 0-0 at the Buriram City Stadium in Thailand.
Up against a reserve side with no imports - Shandong's oldest player was just 22 years old - the Singapore Premier League champions dropped two points despite having more than 70 per cent possession, 17 shots and 11 corners to Shandong's four shots and a corner.
After sending home defender Tajeli Salamat and midfielder M. Anumanthan for breaking team regulations, Sailors coach Kim Do-hoon made just one change from the starting line-up that excelled in the 3-0 win over Daegu FC on Monday, as Gabriel Quak came in for Tajeli.
The Singaporean side eked out four corners in the first half, but neither Hariss Harun nor Pedro Henrique could convert Shahdan Sulaiman's deliveries.
Shandong's youngsters were pegged back but mustered one good effort when midfielder Jin Nuo went on a solo run in the 21st minute and shot into the side netting.
Sailors striker Kim Shin-wook, who is nursing a muscle injury, was brought on in the second half. The former South Korea captain tested goalkeeper Cao Zheng and Brazilian playmaker Diego Lopes headed wide in the 77th minute, but ultimately Shandong held on for the draw.
The Sailors could remain second in Group F if Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds beat or draw with Daegu later in the day. But Sunday's match against Shandong will be a must-win if they want to stay in the hunt for a historic qualification into the knockout rounds.
The three best runners-up in the five east region groups will join the group winners in the round of 16.