Buriram set to celebrate again after midweek upset

Buriram United can bounce back from midweek disappointment by clinching their fifth title in six years at home to struggling Police Tero on Saturday.

The Thunder Castle were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by Bangkok Glass in the League Cup semifinal on Wednesday and will be determined to make a quick recovery from that setback.

Here are five things to look out for on Thai League (T1) Matchday 31.

  1. Buriram set for another title party 

Buriram United’s status as the dominant force in Thai football is likely to be reinforced on Saturday evening as they host Police Tero needing just three points to seal yet another T1 title.

Bozidar Bandovic’s men may have slipped up in the League Cup but their league form has been relentless, the 3-0 victory at Muang Thong United last weekend their 10th win in 11 games.

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Photo Credit: Buriram United

There may be some rotation as the FA Cup semifinal against Sisaket follows on Wednesday but the hosts will not want Tero to spoil the party.

The visitors probably need to win three of their last four games to have a realistic chance of survival. They may feel that this is not a likely place for one of those victories and could prefer to focus on the three more winnable matches to come.

  1. Ratchaburi aim to make most of reprieve 

Ratchaburi were among the favourites for relegation for all of two minutes last weekend, Chainat’s Marco Ballini having leveled the score in added time when the teams clashed at the Mitr Phol Stadium.

It would have been a fifth straight game without a win and yet another costly late goal conceded. The blow to morale may have been irreversible.

But Nerijus Valskis incredibly came up with a winning goal in the 93rd minute to push the Dragons three points clear of the Hornbills and five ahead of Tero.

They now travel to Pattaya United with confidence to face a side that has little to play for now that they are virtually safe from relegation.

Survival will be more or less assured if Ratchaburi can take three points at Nong Prue Stadium.

  1. Tough test for Suphanburi 

Stuttering Port FC finally clicked back into gear last Saturday as they thumped a weakened Nakhon Ratchasima side 4-0 at the PAT Stadium.

Following a five-match winless streak, this turnaround in form will not have been welcome news for Suphanburi who blew a big chance for a much-needed win last week by dropping two points at home to relegated Ubon UMT United.

The War Elephant travel to Klong Toey in need of points but Jadet Meelarp’s men will hope to finish the season strongly, particularly while the chance to make the top three remains.

  1. Hornbills have to do it the hard way

Chainat’s final four fixtures have them facing the second and third-placed teams at home and sixth-placed Prachuap FC away before a potential final day relegation showdown at Suphanburi.

Currently occupying the last relegation spot, Denis Amato’s side have a real battle on their hands to extricate themselves from their precarious position, starting with the match at home to Muang Thong United on Saturday.

The Kirins are licking their wounds following their defeat at home to Buriram, so Chainat could either face the backlash or come up against a side lacking in confidence.

Time is running out for Chainat but a victory in this one would demonstrate that their fighting spirit is still alive after eight games without a win.

  1. Sukhothai look to keep Angels on edge 

One point would ensure that Bangkok United finish the season in second place to earn a slot in the AFC Champions League qualifiers in 2019.

But Sukhothai will arrive at the Thammasat Stadium on a high after comprehensively dismantling Pattaya United last Saturday with possibly their best display of the season.

Bangkok United won the reverse fixture 4-1 in May, but when John Baggio and Nelson Bonilla are on their game, they are a handful for any team and Mano Polking will have his defence set up to contain their threat.

The Firebats sit just one point above the relegation zone and will need to hit top form again if they are to make the Bangkok Angels wait another week for second-place to be confirmed.

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