BG Pathum United extended their lead atop the Thai League table to a whopping 10 points on Tuesday evening, as Port dropped three crucial points in their match against Buriram United.
Less than a week after these two sides met in the FA Cup, Port FC once again stared down the prospect of facing the side they hadn’t beaten since 2014, this time with the added pressure of needing to keep pace with league leaders BG Pathum. The Klongtoei side looked like the stronger of the two in the opening period, but had to wait until the second half to turn that into anything substantial. Sergio Suarez broke the deadlock in the 47th minute, bringing down Nitipong Selanon’s lobbed diagonal pass and getting the better of Rattanakorn Maikami before firing his shot past Siwarak Tedsungnoen.
Buriram were far from their best for large swathes of the game, and even with the clock ticking, a degree of urgency and energy was still missing from the Thunder Castle’s play. Attempts to shake up the attacking setup by coach Alexandre Gama kept the side fresh, but they still struggled to string together meaningful moves in the final third. Meanwhile, the introduction of Adisak Kraisorn by the home side almost appeared a master-stroke, as the attacker came close to scoring with his first touch, only denied by an excellent Siwarak save.
However, everything would change from a set-piece, as Rattanakorn’s delivery was headed in by Apiwat Ngualamhin at the near post after a defensive lapse from Port with 10 minutes left to play. With the home side shell-shocked, Buriram struck just two minutes later when Worawut Namvech failed to play Maicon Marques offside, and the Brazilian attacker made use of the acres of space afforded to him to slot home the winner.
Despite being on top for much of the game, the psychological barrier of facing a side they hadn’t beaten since 2014 seemed like too much to mount for the Klongtoei Lions. Just like last season, poor results against the fellow “big sides” looks set to be Port’s undoing, as they were forced to watch league leaders BG push even further ahead.
The Rabbits may not have been excellent on Tuesday night, but they were efficient enough to collect the three points against a combative and spirited Trat side who are clearly yet to to resign themselves to the fate of relegation. The visitors stunningly managed to score first, as Jonatan Reis slipped Ricardo Santos through, marginally beating the offside flag. The Brazilian target man attempted to square the ball across the penalty area, but his pass deflected off Saharat Pongsuwan and rolled past Chatchai Budprom into the hosts’ net.
However, their lead was undone in the 34th minute when Thiitpan Puangchan was awarded a penalty after a coming together with goalkeeper Todsaporn Sri-rueng – a decision which left the visitors extremely aggrieved. As expected, towering central defender Victor Cardozo made no mistake from the spot, slamming his effort home and bringing the overwhelming favourites back on level terms.
Things went from bad to worse for Trat just before the half-time whistle, as Diogo Luis Santo finally scored his first goal in BG colours with a deflected shot off Wittaya Moonwong from outside the box, which nestled in the far corner, far out of Todsaporn’s reach. The Rabbits then held on in the second half, narrowly missing a few chances to extend the lead. They hosts were slightly fortunate when caught out by a quick free-kick which set Santos clean through once again, only for the referee to call play back as the ball had not been stationary when the kick was taken. Ultimately, it was a forgettable performance for the Rabbits, but an extremely significant result in what is quickly becoming their title march.
Elsewhere, Police Tero managed to fight back from 2 goals down to win 5-3 at Samut Prakan City on Wendesday, while Bangkok United and Chiangrai United were held to a 1-1 draw at the Singha Stadium. Suphanburi picked up their first win in six with a 1-0 over Rayong, while Nakhon Ratchasima continued their excellent run by beating Ratchaburi by the same scoreline at home.
On Thursday, Muangthong United managed a narrow 2-1 victory over Chonburi in a tense encounter, while Sukhothai ended a five game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Prachuap thanks to a virtuoso display from talisman John Baggio.
The Thai League is back in action this weekend, as the resurgent Buriram United take on leaders BG Pathum on Saturday, among other exciting fixtures.