Teerasil strikes to help Muang Thong to first victory of the season

Teerasil Dangda helped ease the pressue on Muang Thong United head coach Pairoj, as the Kirins scored their first goals of the season in a 2-0 Thai League (T1) victory over Chiang Mai.

Teerasil’s strike in the 60th minute ended 240 goalless minutes for Muang Thong that saw them lose their first two games 1-0.

Bangkok United and Port FC both won again as the more fancied teams moved towards the top of the table.

Here are five things we saw on T1 Mathcday Three.

  1. Teerasil makes his mark

A home victory over newly promoted Chiang Mai doesn’t exactly represent a landmark result but in the circumstances it felt significant. Two defeats in two had people wondering when and not if Pairoj would lose his job.

Injury to centre-back Oh Ban-suk added another layer of gloom, while club legend Mario Gjurovski’s return has been a huge anti-climax with the playmaker apparently struggling for fitness and left out of the squad for this one.

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Photo credit: Muang Thong United

But Pairoj put his faith in youth as 21-year-old Saringkan Promsupa started at the back, while 18-year-old striker Korrawith Tasa was handed his debut.

Both looked comfortable but there was tension in the air until Teerasil struck from Heberty Fernandes’ cross on the hour mark. Heberty’s late penalty then secured a much needed three points for the embattled Pairoj.

An expected home win does not answer any questions but it does ease the scrutiny.

  1. More VARce as Bangkok United edge win at Trat

The good news is that after use of VAR at the Trat Vs Bangkok United match, the referee made the correct calls not to award penalties to either team.

Supoj Wonghoi’s handball for the home side was clearly accidental, coming at him at speed from very close range. Nevertheless, in the current climate of inexplicable penalty awards for accidental handball, we have seen them given.

The most discouraging moment of the game came when Adefolarin Durosinmi’s cross struck Tristan Do. The referee did not look interested but Durosinmi chased after him and the man in the middle was soon surrounded by an aggressive group of Trat players.

As we have seen so often already this season, the referee succumbed and it was player pressure that led to the review. Replays showed the ball bounced off Do’s legs and possibly backside but it was nowhere near a handball.

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Photo credit: Bangkok United

The sooner the Thai League does something to prevent this unchecked bullying of referees, the better, but you have to suspect things will get worse before they improve.

Nelson Bonilla’s second-half strike was the difference between the two teams in the end but there was another loud shout from Trat for a VAR check in added time. This time the referee resisted and he was right again.

  1. Friday feeling for Port

Friday evening’s game between Chonburi and Port FC served up great entertainment but it was another dispiriting result for the Sharks who lost their second home match on the trot. The pre-season optimism has quickly given way to concern over where the team will end the season.

The home side took the lead through Lukian before sloppy defending allowed Go Seul-ki to crack home a volley on the stroke of half-time. Worachit Kanitsribampen put Chonburi back in front but Sergio Suarez scored a simple equaliser with the Sharks defence ball watching. Artit Budjinda then ghosted in untracked at the far post to fire home the winner.

Port FC’s excellent travelling support were ecstatic but Chonburi were left to reflect on when Patrick Cruz looked certain to make it 3-1 but was denied by a wonderful Worawut Srisupha save.

Port ended the weekend on top of the T1 table but Chonburi now have just one point from three matches. If they continue to defend like they did on Friday, they could remain in the bottom three for some time to come.

  1. Late show boosts Buriram 

The Thai champions had gone almost 280 minutes without scoring when they finally made the breakthrough at home to Prachuap FC on Sunday. The Killer Wasps – who had yet to concede a goal – gave them a gift when a clearance was fluffed and Modibo Maiga pounced to prod the ball home in the 73rdminute.

Substitute Supachok Sarachat soon added the second – his third of the season – to ensure that Prachuap would not retain top spot and to lift his side ahead of Wednesday’s home match againt Jeonbuk Hyundai in the AFC Champions League.

Maiga will be relieved to have got off the mark in T1 and another boost was the first appearance of midfielder Hajime Hosogai, who came on as a late substitute.

A first victory of the season lifts a weight off Buriram’s shoulders and they will hope to kick on from there both domestically and in the ACL.

  1. JET power gives PTT lift-off

Two straight defeats had shaken the confidence of PTT Rayong on their return to T1, having recruited a number of big names in the close season. Things finally came together at home to Samut Prakan City on Sunday, with English striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas playing a starring role.

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Photo credit: PTT Rayong

The former Ipswich Town and Bristol City man headed in the opener and set up the second for Apiwat Pengprakone in a 2-1 victory. Samut Prakan struggled with Emmanuel-Thomas’ physical presence a driving runs throughout and the home side could have made the win more convincing before Kim Tae-yon’s added-time screamer gave them an uncomfortable end to the game.

There was relief at the final whistle as PTT claimed their first points of the season. Meanwhile, Samut Prakan’s first defeat ended their brief stay at the top of the table.

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