Buriram United emerged from the Singha Stadium with all three points after an incredibly hard-fought encounter with Chiangrai, while BG Pathum retained their place at the Thai League summit for at least another week with a comeback victory against Rayong FC.
2019 Thai League winners Chiangrai United hosted the side they dethroned as champions on Saturday, as Buriram travelled to the Singha Stadium for a tense and hotly-contested encounter. The hosts returned from lockdown on flying form, collecting all nine possible points to climb up to third place in the table.
Meanwhile, Buriram were left to watch eagerly on from the sidelines for the first two weeks back, due to a COVID-19 complication. They found themselves in 12th place with 7 points before taking to the field this weekend, with two games in hand. Victories in both would see them jump right back into the thick of the top four race, but the table still made for uneasy reading as the Thunder Castle looked eager to come away with all three points.
Both sides pressed well and compacted the space efficiently in the first half. Buriram struggled to make anything of their dominance in possession, as Chiangrai’s attacks arguably had more penetration. Ekanit Panya missed a golden chance to take the lead on 15 minutes, and Akarawin Sawasdee spurned an even greater opportunity on minute 36. Buriram, however, presented a constant threat on set-pieces – foreshadowing what was to come.
The game’s organisation began to wane after the break, giving both sides more chances to take the lead. Marko Scepovic thought he had scored just a minute after the break, but the goal was ruled out as Supachok Sarachat was offside in buildup. At the other end, Siwarak Tedsungnoen was forced into a couple of super-saves, first denying Brinner Henrique on the hour mark and then Ekanit once again with ten minutes remaining.
Buriram eventually struck in the 86th minute, as Renato Kelic got to Rattanakorn Maikami’s corner delivery and guided a powerful header past Saranon Anuin into the far corner of Chiangrai’s net. The Croatian’s contribution would prove to be the game’s only goal, as Buriram emerged 1-0 winners.
Rabbits see off Rayong to retain first place
League leaders BG Pathum United were also in action on Saturday, coming in as heavy favourites against bottom-side Rayong FC. The hosts, who were yet to concede from open play all season, came up against a side who had only managed to find the net twice in seven league outings.
Against all the odds, Rayong managed to draw first blood with their first shot of the game, when Danilo’s effort took a major deflection off Victor Cardozo and rolled past Chatchai Budprom into BG’s net. The Rabbits responded well, levelling things from the penalty spot after half an hour as Cardozo thumped an effort into the top corner, giving Kampol Pathom-attakul no chance.
BG thought they had taken the lead when Sumanya Purisai scored a back post header, but VAR ruled out the goal as Peerapong Pichitchotirat was judged to have committed a foul when forcing the turnover and launching the attack. VAR was once again at the center of attention five minutes from time, correcting a clear error from the referee and awarding a penalty for a foul on Siroch Chatthong. Kampol was faced by another robust thump from Cardozo, ending in the same result.
Elsewhere, Trat FC collected their first points of the season with a 2-1 away win over Suphanburi FC thanks to a brace from Mustafa Azadzoy. The Afghanistan international scored his first goal just two minutes in with a glancing header over the goalkeeper, and netted a second in first-half stoppage time with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner.
Suphanburi managed to pull a goal back with 18 minutes remaining, as Wasan Homsan’s cross found Adisorn Poomchart for the finish, but the War Elephants were unable to mount a comeback. The result helped lift Trat off bottom-spot, just one point behind Prachuap FC in the safety of 13th place.
Lastly, Sukhothai FC played out a 1-1 draw with Police Tero at the Thung Thalay Luang Stadium. It took until the second half for the game to come to life, but it did in spectacular style with Sila Srikampang’s effort from outside the box, which nestled in the far side of the net to give Sukhothai the lead.
However, Tero remained resolute and dominated possession after going behind. Forwards Arthit Boodjinda and Greg Houla were a constant threat to the Fire Bats’ back line, and the latter eventually got his goal by latching onto Pathompol’s delivery with an excellent back-post header.
The day’s results see Buriram climb into the top half while BG Pathum retain their place as league leaders. Chiangrai keep their third-place spot for at least one more night, while Tero and Sukhothai remain level on 14 points after eight games.