SENDAI, Japan: Osmar Barba Ibanez gave away a penalty but scored the equaliser as Buriram United battled from behind to a 1-1 draw with Vegalta Sendai in the opening fixture of the AFC Champions League Tuesday.
The Spanish defender's handball allowed Sendai's captain and North Korea midfielder Ryang Yong-Gi to slot in a penalty kick in the 52nd minute before a sellout crowd of 20,000 at the Sendai Stadium, with heaps of snow outside.
But Osmar equalised on 75 minutes for the Thai FA Cup holders, when he knocked in a towering header from outside the near post after a right corner.
The Group E match kicked off the 2013 ACL season, with seven other games on the opening day's menu.
Sendai, the 2012 J-League runners-up, squandered their first chance in the 13th minute when Shingo Tomita caught a cleared ball outside the box but banged it wide after a right corner from Japan-born Ryang.
In the 32nd minute Ryang curled a right-footer over the net.
But the visitors threatened Sendai's net on the break as midfielder Anawin Jujeen intercepted a long ball from Osmar, only for his cross to go nowhere.
Three minutes before half-time, a 30-metre free kick by Yoshiaki Ota went outside the left post to deny the home side an opening goal.
Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested before Osmar's foul allowed the home side to open the scoring.
In the 60th minute the Spaniard's attempt to undo the damage failed when his powerful 30-metre shot flew over the bar.
Another long shot from the 24-year-old seven minutes later from outside the box went straight into the hands of Sendai keeper Shigeru Sakurai.
But Osmar finally managed to equalise in the 75th minute.
The result means J-League clubs remain unbeaten in their last six home matches against Thai clubs in the AFC Champions League, with three wins and three draws.
Sendai were making their debut in Asia's premier club tournament while Buriram are making back-to-back appearances. (AFP)