Rayong and Korat big winners in relegation battle

Both Rayong FC and Nakhon Ratchasima collected three valuable points in the Thai League’s intense relegation battle over the weekend. For the former, an unlikely win over Bangkok United has finally allowed fans to dream of a great escape, while for the SwatCats, a second Dennis Murillo hat-trick in two weeks saw them leap clear of the drop zone.

The weekend’s standout result is once again a negative one for Bangkok United, as the Angels slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of bottom side Rayong FC. The hosts, coached by Masami Taki, went into the game without any of their foreign players in the starting 11 or on the bench, and were heavy underdogs for this encounter.

As expected, Bangkok United aimed to take the game to their hosts, but looked devoid of ideas in the final third. Meanwhile, Rayong arguably created better chances in the opening period with a combative midfield and quick counter-attacks. The visitors survived a major scare five minutes before the break, with Michael Falkesgaard denying Methi Sarakham from close range.

Rayong scored the game’s only goal in the 67th minute, as they crowded the goalkeeper for Anuchit Ngernbukkol’s free kick delivery, which was turned in by Sirisak Fufung at the near post. The visitors came close to levelling when Tristan Do’s wayward cross cannoned off the crossbar, and again five minutes later when Chananan Pombuppha found a bit of space in the opposing box, but they were unable to score past Kampol Pathom-attakul on either occasion. The hosts narrow lead stood through stoppage time – during which Suwat Junboonpha and Manuel Bihr were both sent off for an altercation during a set piece – and Rayong managed to pick up their third win of the season to lift themselves off the bottom spot.

Meanwhile, Nakhon Ratchasima were clearly buoyed by their 4-3 comeback victory against Trat last weekend, as they had no issues seeing off Police Tero at the 80th Birthday Stadium. This time, the SwatCats took firm control of the game and scored four without reply against the hapless visitors. It took them 15 minutes to open the scoring thanks to an excellent strike from left-back Pralong Sawandee, which beat Prasit Padungchok at his near post. Dennis Murillo then doubled their lead from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time, before completing his hat-trick with a header in the 78th minute and a close-range finish into an empty net in the 90th.

Both sides were aided by the proceedings in Trat, where the White Elephants were undone by a rampant Samut Prakan City side. Teeraphol Yoryoei teed up Barros Tardeli to open the scoring after 19 minutes, before Yuthapichai Lertlam snuck in at the front post to convert Jaroensak Wonggorn’s cross four minutes later. Jirapong Raksongkram then lobbed the ball into his own net in spectacular fashion to put the game beyond doubt, assisted by a cross from the adventurous center-back Jakkaphan Priasuwan, before Aris Zarifovic headed in the final blow before the half time whistle.

Prachuap also dropped back into the relegation zone, replacing Nakhon Ratchasima, as Buriram took all three points from the Sam Ao stadium with an efficient performance capped off by a goal from Supachai Jaided. Elsewhere, Suphanburi’s 3-1 loss to Muangthong, which marked their fourth consecutive defeat, also brings them within slipping distance of the drop zone.

Meanwhile, BG finished the first leg of the season in style with a 4-1 rout of Ratchaburi FC, becoming the first visiting side to win at the Mitr Phol Stadium this season. After a sluggish first half, the Rabbits look the lead just a minute after the restart with a headed goal from Andres Tunez. Victor Cardozo then stepped up to score a brace, first from the penalty spot and then with a header of his own. Daniel ‘Toti’ Garcia was able to mark his final appearance for BG with a goal, rendering Pathomchai Seasakul’s late strike little consolation as the Rabbits ran out 4-1 winners. Lastly, goals from Worachit Kanitsribampen and Panuphong Phonsa saw Chonburi pick up their second away win of the season against Sukhothai FC.


Thai League fan and writer. Editor at Football Tribe Asia. University student.

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