Buriram United extended their lead on top of the Thai League to six points with a game in hand, after beating Muangthong United at the Thunderdome Stadium.
The seven-time champions came into this match against their old rivals on the back of seven consecutive wins in all competitions either side of the new years’ break. They took the lead early in the match, as Rattanakorn Maikami caught the Kirin out by taking a direct free kick from a position where a delivery was expected. However, Muangthong goalkeeper Peerapong Ruenin should have done better with parrying the shot.
The visitors created more clear cut chances during the first half. Muangthong started to grow into the game after the break, but were unable to fashion anything meaningful enough to level the scoring. Meanwhile, Lucas Rocha was forced into a few last-ditch tackles as Buriram posed a constant threat on the counter attack. Masatada Ishii’s men were ultimately saw out the game fairly comfortably, and ensured that the new boss continued his perfect start at the club.
Buriram’s weekend went from good to great when Bangkok United failed to take any points from their trip to Nongbua Pitchaya. Having lost to Buriram themselves last week, the sides woes continued thanks to a penalty from the league’s leading marksman Hamilton Soares. The result saw them slip to third, while the Gamecocks climbed to 8th, just four points off the AFC Champions League places.
The capital club were usurped by Chonburi, who managed an impressive 3-2 victory over Port FC. The Sharks raced into a two-goal lead thanks to a brace from Yoo Byung-Soo, who headed in Chatmongkol Rueangthanarot’s deep cross for the opener before beating an offside trap for the second. Nurul Sriyankem pulled a goal back for his former club, before Philip Roller hit an equaliser despite the fact the side were reduced to 10 men. However, their momentum didn’t carry over into a winner, as Dennis Murillo found a pocket of space in the penalty area and netted the decisive goal for Chonburi.
At the other end of the table, Prachuap picked up their first league win since October when they beat Nakhon Ratchasima by the same scoreline. The visitors took the lead first thanks to left-back Saharat Pongsuwan, who cut inside onto his weaker foot and managed to find the far corner after just three minutes. They were pegged back by Kwame Karikari, but were given a huge advantage with defender Charlie Clough was sent off for a rash challenge on Patrick Riechelt. Praweenwat Boonyong arrived at the back post to give Prachuap another lead a few minutes later, before a second half goal from fellow defender Peerawat Akkratum effectively put the game beyond doubt.
Chiangmai United’s woes continued with their 4-1 defeat at the hands of BG Pathum United. It took the Rabbits 14 minutes to open the scoring, as Santiphap Chan-ngom’s cross was headed in by in-form striker Ikhsan Fandi, who extended his record to 4 goals from 5 appearances since joining the club. The Singapore international then assisted Pathompol for the second, before goals from Diogo and Sarach rended Bill’s effort a mere consolation goal.
Fellow promoted side Khon Kaen United continued their excellent vein of form by beating Suphanburi FC 2-0 on Friday night, with goals from Yashir Islame and Ibson Melo. The victory saw the King Cobras climb into the top 10 for the first time this season. Coach Carlos Eduardo Pareira will rightly be relieved and proud of the eight point buffer the side have made between themselves and the relegation zone, but he will also know that things are still far from over on that front.
Elsewhere, the weekend saw two goalless draws. Chiangrai United failed to break down Police Tero on their own patch on Saturday, while Samut Prakan City and Ratchaburi continue to hover just above the relegation zone after they both failed to find the net on Sunday.
The league returns to action on Wednesday with a slate of rescheduled games. Suphanburi travel to Chiangmai United in a relegation six-pointer which could come close to effectively dooming the hosts if they fail to pick up full points. Buriram will remain in the capital to take on Police Tero, while Bangkok United return home to host Samut Prakan City.
Elsewhere, Port FC take on BG Pathum United in the FA Cup on the same evening, while Muangthong United host third-tier outfit Uthai Thani, who recently beat them in the League Cup. The four teams will be vying for a place in that competition’s quarter finals.