Chainat gave hope that this year’s Thai League (T1) battle would not become another one-horse race as they stunned champions Buriram United in Matchday 13.
Ricardo Santos struck in added time to seal a 2-1 victory, halting what looked like Buriram’s ominous progress towards the top of the league.
Bangkok United came up with a big win of their own at Chiang Rai United, while Muang Thong United ended a run of eight T1 matches without a victory by beating Sukhothai 2-0.
But Port FC went six points clear at the top with a straightforward 3-1 win at home to Chiang Mai.
Here are three things we saw on T1 Matchday 13.
- Chainat claim another big scalp
Chainat’s form coming into Matchday 13 had been woeful. They had gone five games without a win and lost the previous three by an 8-0 aggregate. Buriram, meanwhile, had won three-in-a-row in second gear and had yet to suffer a league defeat.
Jaturaphat Satham’s opener for the home side threatened an upset but Andres Tunez struck on the stroke of half-time to apparently restore order.
The champions continued to struggle in the second half but Pedro Junior won a late penalty and it looked like Buriram would once again find a way to win without playing well. But Teerat Nakchamnan saved Pedro’s spot-kick before Santos broke clear to strike a dramatic winner.
Photo credit: Chainat FC
Not only did Chainat halt an alarming slide towards the relegation zone, they also highlighted how Buriram could be beaten with a hard pressing game.
Incredibly, Chainat’s three wins this season have come against three of the country’s biggest clubs – Bangkok United and Muang Thong United the other two.
There is hope again that it isn’t simply a matter of time before Buriram hit their stride and cruise to another title.
- Bangkok United keep their cool to crush Beetles
It has taken a long time for Bangkok United to look like a side that could challenge for the title. Away results have been poor and home defeats to Buriram and Chonburi have been damaging.
However, they have finally started to click into gear and two victories in four days have transformed the picture. Samut Prakan City were defeated on Sunday and Wednesday’s trip to Chiang Rai United looked pivotal, with the Bangkok Angels sitting three points behind the Beetles.
Pokklaw Anna’s excellent finish put the visitors ahead and, while Bangkok United’s temperament has been suspect at times, it was the home side who lost their heads in this one. Tanasak Srisai was responsible for sparking a bout of handbags but escaped without a booking.
Photo credit: Bangkok United
Everton put Bangkok United 2-0 up before Tanasak got involved again before a corner kick. Although all eyes were apparently on him, he floored Tristan Do with an elbow at the second attempt but incredibly escaped with a yellow card.
There were some more meaty challenges going in as the hosts tried to literally fight their way back into the game. When Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul pulled one back, Bangkok United didn’t panic and substitute Vander Luis struck a third goal with the help of a deflection to seal the win.
To compound Chiang Rai’s misery, Decha Sa-ardchom received a straight red card for a last-man foul on Nelson Bonilla.
Bangkok United now sit in second place, five days after being seventh. They are on 22 points alongside Buriram, Samut Prakan and Chiang Rai, but the momentum is very much with them.
- Teerasil and Heberty end Muang Thong goal drought
It was getting on to 320 minutes without a T1 goal when Teerasil Dangda gave Muang Thong United the lead against Sukhothai as half-time approached.
Fifteen minutes later, Heberty Fernandes struck to leave Muang Thong fans wondering why scoring had become so difficult in the first place. Following eight matches without a win, the overwhelming emotion at the SCG Stadium was one of relief.
Photo credit: Muang Thong United
In those eight winless games, the Kirins scored just four times despite having some of the best attacking talent in the league.
The 2-0 victory leaves Muang Thong still in the relegation zone and they are second from bottom, above Suphanburi on goal difference. However, they now have a two-week break to work on putting things right before taking on Chonburi on June 16th.