Muang Thong rock bottom as Port FC extend lead at the top

Muang Thong United’s new head coach Yoon Jong-hwan ended his first weekend in charge at the bottom of the Thai League (T1) following a 2-1 defeat at home to bitter rivals Port FC.

But there was a bit more fight about the team than there had been in the three straight losses that preceded this match. Elsewhere, Bangkok United lost for the third time in five games, while Buriram United also dropped points.

Here are four things we saw on T1 Matchday Eight.

  1. Port pull clear as Kirins lose again

Port FC moved four points clear at the top of T1 as they edged to a 2-1 victory at the SCG Stadium. There may have been no Port fans present for the third year running but that seems to work well for them as they won here for the third consecutive season.

After a tight first half, Bordin Phala opened the scoring with a lovely strike from 20 yards and Nitipong Selanon finished off an excellent counter attack for the second.

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Photo credit: Muang Thong United

Muang Thong rallied and Weerawut Kayem’s goal set up a tense finish and Charyl Chappuis was inches away from the equaliser with a thunderous strike from outside the box.

Yoon Jong-hwan will have been encouraged by some aspects of what he saw on Saturday as his side fought gamely to stay in the match. With Port looking the strongest side in the league at the moment, you have to fancy Muang Thong to start picking up points against weaker opponents with performances like this.

  1. More misery for Bangkok United

After a slow start to the season, it looked like Bangkok United might have turned a corner when they thumped Suphanburi 4-0 two weeks ago. It looks to have been a false dawn as they slipped to their third defeat in five games at Chainat on Saturday.

The Hornbills looked the hungrier side as a strike from Ricardo Santos and Everton’s own goal put them 2-0 ahead. Teerathep Winothai gave the visitors hope before Santos’ red card left Chainat to endure a testing final 10 minutes with 10 men. But it was another costly defeat for the Bangkok Angels as they slipped six points behind Port FC and lost ground on Buriram who had drawn 1-1 with Trat FC on Friday.

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Photo credit: Chainat FC

It may still be relatively early days in the season but there is little cause for optimism among the Bangkok United support as their side struggles. The losses of Vander Luiz and Mika Chunuonsee to injury haven’t helped but it is time for the other players to get the team on the right track if they are to mount a title challenge.

  1. Comeback win lifts Suphanburi

It looked grim for Suphanburi when Nakhon Ratchasima took the lead through Henri Doumbia on Sunday. The War Elephant were looking at a fourth straight defeat and another week in the relegation zone.

Head coach Totchtawan Sripan had looked like an inspired appointment but the dramatic dip in form suggested he might not last much longer in his post. Some inspired goalkeeping from Samuel Cunningham kept the Swatcats in front at half-time as it began to appear that it would not be Suphanburi’s night again.

But substitute Mark Hartmann started the comeback before goals from Cleiton Silva and Jonathan Reis gave the hosts a much-needed 3-1 victory to lift them out of the bottom three.

Things don’t get easier for Suphanburi as they have a trip to Bangkok to face league leaders Port FC next weekend but they go in much better spirits after showing a steely side to take the three points against a tough opponent.

  1. Lucien notches five in Chonburi goal fest

Chonburi continued their climb up the table with another entertaining performance as they beat Chiang Mai an incredible 7-5. The Sharks have now won three of their last four games, with an aggregate of 23 goals netted in these three wins.

Nine of these goals have been scored by Lukian, with the Brazilian on target five times on Sunday evening. Now T1’s top scorer with 10 goals in total, Lukian is looking like the most inspired signing of the season.

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Photo credit: Chonburi FC

When Buriram United were releasing Modibo Maiga just a couple of months into his contract, you have to wonder if they regretted not looking closer to home. Lukian had proved his worth at Pattaya United last year and would surely have been a safer bet than the former West Ham man.

Things are now looking up for Chonburi after a dismal start to the year saw them sitting bottom of the table after four games.

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