Nakhon Ratchasima came back from three goals down to collect full points against Trat FC thanks to a hat-trick from striker Dennis Murillo, while BG Pathum United confirmed their status as first leg champions with an emphatic win over Suphanburi FC
Despite being less than half-way through the season, Sunday’s relegation scrap between Trat FC and Nakhon Ratchasima looked like a must-win game for both sides. It took just five minutes for the hosts to get in front, as Sittichok Paso’s free-kick delivery was mishandled by goalkeeper Thanachai Noorach, allowing the ball to glide into the back of the net. Seemingly demoralised, the SwatCats defense was exposed again when Jonatan Reis got on the end of Ricardo Santos’ knockdown and curled the ball past Thanachai from the edge of the box. The visitors looked vulnerable to breakaways when pushing forward and conceded a third as Mongkol Tossakrai’s shot was tapped in by Santos to give the White Elephants a seemingly insurmountable lead going into the half-time break.
However, the hosts also went into the break a man down. as Santos lashed out Tatchanon Nakarawong in first half stoppage time, initially being given a yellow card before a VAR review harshed the decision and ended the forward’s night early. The SwatCats comeback got underway eight minutes into the second half, as the visitors were awarded a penalty which was duly converted by Dennis Murillo.
Murillo was at the center of the action once again when he converted Naruphon Aromsawa’s deep cross with a powerful header which looped over Todsaporn Sri-rueng and into the back of the net. With the hosts now under intense pressure, frustration got the better of Sittichok who received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after being ruled offside, reducing Trat’s numbers to nine with 25 minutes left to play. Murillo then levelled the scoring, converting Decha Srangdee’s cross with an excellent half-volley to complete his hat-trick and send the hosts into bewildered despair. However, the visitors were not content with just a point, and Decha turned provider once again to set up Leandro Assumpcao for a shock winner in the final minute of regular time, sparking frenzied celebrations on the visitors bench.
Rabbits Crowned First Leg Champions
BG Pathum United bounced back from their shock FA Cup defeat last week to put four past Suphanburi FC at the LEO Stadium on Saturday evening. Andres Tunez opened the scoring in under two minutes, converting Chaowat Veerachat’s delivery at the back post to put the hosts in control.
Tunez’s early goal expectedly sparked a wave of BG dominance, and they found their second courtesy of debutant Suparak Sarapee. The 20-year-old left wing-back managed to skip past a pair of Suphanburi defenders at the edge of the box and send a side-footed effort ricochetting off Patrick Deyto and into the back of the net. Daniel ‘Toti’ Garcia missed a golden chance to score on what might he his last home game for BG Pathum after five years with the club, but a goal from Thitipan Puangchan and a second from Tunez in the second half rounded off the resounding victory.
The result ensures that the Rabbits will end the first leg of the season as league leaders, and will reach the half-way point unbeaten if they avoid defeat next weekend.
Thai League’s ACL lineup confirmed
Elsewhere, Ratchaburi FC and Chiangrai United confirmed their place among Thailand’s 2021 AFC Champions League representatives, as a 2-1 defeat for Bangkok United at the hands of Buriram eliminated them from the running. The game was a tight and cagey affair, as Totchtawan’s Bangkok retained the majority of possession but struggled to advance the ball due to disciplined pressing from Gama’s Buriram. The game was always likely to be won by the side which made fewer individual errors, and that was proven true when Hajime Hosogai mis-controlled Manuel Bihr’s pass as the last man and pick-pocketed by Jakkaphan Kaewprom, who made no mistake in his one-on-one against goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard. The Angels struck back just three minutes later with a goal from Vander, but were once again undone when giving away a cheap corner which was headed in by Renato Kelic to give the visitors all three points.
Ratchaburi themselves were beaten 3-1 at the PAT Stadium in a result which confirmed that hosts Port FC will be playing in the Champions League group stage next year at their visitors expense. Adisak Kraisorn and Nelson Bonilla both found netted in the first half during a dominant display from the home side, as the visitors struggled in the absence of Yannick Boli and Steeven Langil. A strike from the penalty spot by Philip Roller gave the Dragons a lifeline in the 77th minute, but a late goal by Nattawut Sombatyotha killed off their hopes of changing the result.
Police Tero ended an eight-game winless streak with a 1-0 win over Rayong FC, thanks to a late goal from Kirati Kaewsombat. Meanwhile, Muangthong United’s winless run in the league extended to four games after their defense undone by Prachuap’s William Henrique at the SCG Stadium and needed a late equaliser from Sardor Mirzaev to rescue a point. Lastly, Samut Prakan City put four past Chonburi thanks to a hat-trick from Barros Tardeli in a result which helped them climb into the top half for the first time since the opening weekend.