Muang Thong United had two unexpected heroes to thank for staging a remarkable comeback to win 4-2 at Police Tero on Thai League (T1) Matchday 28.
Substitutes Weerawut Kayem and Poramet Arjvirai both scored as the Kirins turned around a 2-0 deficit to keep Police Tero deep in relegation trouble.
Elsewhere, the top two kept up their winning ways, while Air Force United’s relegation was finally confirmed.
Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday 28.
- Fringe benefits for Muang Thong
Former Muang Thong United head coach Totchtawan Sripan looked on course for a famous win as Marcos Vinicius’ two goals had his Police Tero side two goals up early in the second half on Saturday.
But two shrewd substitutions from Muang Thong boss Radovan Curcic turned the match on its head after Jaja Coelho had capitalised on a Nikola Petkovic error to pull one back.
First, Weerawut Kayem – a left-back who spent last season on loan at Tero and the first part of this year at Udon Thani – slammed home the equaliser.
The visitors, boosted by the energy and running of Weerawut and 20-year-old striker Poramet, laid siege to the Tero goal.
But the hosts came back into the game and passed up a great opportunity when Aung Thu could only blast his shot at Peerapat Notchaiya with the goal at his mercy.
The miss was quickly punished as Poramet steered home on the rebound after Weerawut’s shot had been saved. It was the youngster’s first goal for the club and he looks an exciting talent.
Heberty Fernandes netted a penalty in added time to give the scoreline a more flattering appearance.
Curcic was modest after the game, suggesting that the substitutions simply worked out on this occasion, when on other occasions they don’t.
Fans leaving the Boonyachinda Stadium, however, were in no doubt that Muang Thong’s fringe men had made the difference.
- Milestone for Mano
Thai football is not known to be a place where a manager achieves longevity at one club. But Bangkok United’s Mano Polking has proved to be the exception.
The Brazilian notched up his 100th competitive victory for the club after just over four years in charge.
Bangkok United were a team struggling against relegation when Polking joined in 2014 and he has now steered them to 5th, 2ndand 3rd place finishes in his three full seasons at the club.
A 4-0 win at Navy FC on Saturday helped bring up the century of wins in style as goals from Mehrdad Pooladi, Sittichok Kannoo, Sumanya Purisai and Teerathep Winothai took Bangkok United closer to another second-place finish and a spot in the AFC Champions League qualifiers.
- Business as usual for Diogo and Buriram
Nakhon Ratchasima had good reason to feel optimistic going into Saturday’s Isan derby at home to champions Buriram United.
They had lost just once in 11 games due to an excellent defensive record. However, without striker Leandro Assumpcao, they are also quite toothless in attack and once Diogo Luis Santo had given the visitors the lead in the 32ndminute, there was always going to be only one winner.
The Brazilian notched his double just after the hour mark to make it 29 for the season, seven ahead of fellow Brazilians Jonathan Reis and Heberty in the top scorer charts.
It was another important hurdle cleared for the Thunder Castle, who need just three wins from the remaining six games to defend their title.
- Sharks survive scare to shoot down Air Force
Chonburi fans were starting to contemplate relegation when Kayne Vincent deservedly put bottom side Air Force United ahead on the stroke of half-time on Saturday.
Just two points above the relegation zone at the start of play, this had seemed the perfect opportunity for three points and a bit of breathing space, but this was not in the script.
Fortunately for the home fans, the Sharks roused themselves in the second half and equalised through substitute Bajram Nebihi in the 53rd minute.
The nervous Chonburi faithful had to wait until three minutes from time for the winning goal as Ciro Alves struck to put his side five points outside the relegation places.
The result also confirmed that Air Force would drop into T2 as they now sit 20 points behind the final relegation place with just 18 points to play for.
- Chatree rolls back the years
Bangkok Glass’ recent revival was punctured in the midweek defeat at Bangkok United and it looked like a move back into the relegation zone was on the cards when Kang Soo-il put Ratchaburi 1-0 up at the Leo Stadium on Sunday.
But a familiar face emerged as the hero for Bangkok Glass. Club legend Chatree Chimtalay came off the bench to notch a double – his first two goals of the season.
Chatree has been with Bangkok Glass for 10 years but the 34-year-old had been peripheral this year as several strikers have been ahead of him the pecking order.
But, just as Bangkok Glass looked doomed to a damaging defeat, Chatree found the goals that enabled them to leapfrog Ratchaburi and land in 10th place in T1 – three points clear of the relegation zone.