Debut delight for Chonburi and Muang Thong as strikers hit the ground running

Caion’s late strike handed Chonburi a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Buriram United as the Top-Four sides all dropped points on Thai League (T1) Matchday 16.

Caion was not the only Brazilian debutant to come up with a winning goal as Derley did the same for Muang Thong United.

Port FC lost for the third time in a row, while Bangkok United failed to make the most of Buriram’s defeat as they were held at home by Sukhothai.

Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday 16.

  1. Chonburi rise to the big occasion again

Chonburi have had another inconsistent season to date but they have developed a habit of troubling the biggest sides and they handed out another bloody nose on Sunday with a battling display at home to the league leaders.

It looked slightly ominous for the hosts as they approached the final 10 minutes with the score at 0-0. There was a growing feeling that Buriram might do what they often do and sneak a barely deserved win with a late goal.

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Photo credit: Chonburi FC

But it was the Sharks who finally broke the deadlock when Caion marked his debut with the winner. Chonburi have now taken four points from Buriram, as well as beating Bangkok United and Muang Thong.

It is now up to the players to show the same appetite in tough matches at Samut Prakan City and Port FC in the next two weeks.

  1. Port FC lose again as title bid crumbles

In contrast with Chonburi’s habit of beating the big guns, Port FC’s title challenge has crumbled in the space of three weekends, with three consecutive defeats against top-five opponents. Add to that the draw at home to Bangkok United last month and it gives a strong impression that Port are flat-track bullies rather than serious title contenders.

Sunday saw a second-half capitulation at home to Chiang Rai United as the side from the north scored three unanswered goals to seal a 4-1 victory.

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Photo credit: Chiang Rai United

It hadn’t been a one-sided game and but for a spectacular save from Apirak Worawong from Go Seul-ki’s header, Port would have made it 2-2 before Piyaphon Phanichakul’s looping header made it 3-1 with seven minutes remaining.

Port’s frustrations boiled over and Pakorn Prempak was incredibly fortunate to be given just a yellow card for a nasty kick on Bill. The Brazilian striker had his revenge by adding the fourth goal in added time and Port head coach Jadet Meelarp’s lack of tactical nous was exposed once again by a competent opponent with a plan.

  1. Dream debut for Derley 

It didn’t take long for one of Muang Thong United’s new signings to make an impact as the Kirins finally climbed out of the relegation zone. Former Benfica striker Derley came off the bench to net the winner as Muang Thong beat Prachuap for the first time in a T1 fixture.

Amorn Thammanarn had given the Killer Wasps an early lead before Adisak Kraisorn levelled the score. Having replaced Adisak in the second half, Derley then pounced on a rebound from Heberty Fernandes’ free kick and rolled the ball into an empty net.

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Photo credit: Muang Thong United

The Brazilian almost added his second in added time but Prachuap goalkeeper Kwanchai Suklom made sure he didn’t with what appeared to be a foul that was not penalised.

Nevertheless, it was another encouraging night for Muang Thong, who have now won three of their last four T1 matches and are surely headed for a finish in the top half rather than a relegation battle.

  1. Jung dents old boss Mano’s title hopes

Sukhothai’s Jung Myung-oh played under Mano Polking at Army United back in 2013 and the Brazilian took the South Korean defensive midfielder to Suphanburi the following year. On Saturday, it was Jung who scored the equalising goal that halted Bangkok United’s building momentum.

Following John Baggio’s opener for the visitors, it was Jung who levelled for Bangkok United when he diverted Tristan Do’s hopelessly miscued shot into his own net. Anon Amornlerdsak then put the hosts ahead as they looked set for their fifth successive T1 victory.

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Photo credit: Sukhothai FC

However, Jung hooked in from close range to atone for his own goal and to deny his former head coach as his side’s title challenge faltered again.

Results elsewhere actually meant that Bangkok United moved one point closer to leaders Buriram but this was a missed opportunity to take full advantage of Buriram’s slip at Chonburi.

  1. PTT and Suphanburi get the luck they need

It is often said that you need the breaks when you’re at the wrong end of the table and PTT Rayong and Suphanburi certainly benefited from a bit of luck as they earned vital wins at the weekend.

PTT Rayong required an inspirational performance from goalkeeper Peerapong Ruenin and some poor finishing from Nakhon Ratchasima to escape from Isaan with a 1-0 victory. Poompreecha Jarunai’s strike ensured that PTT took their third win in five games to move towards mid-table safety.

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Photo credit: Suphanburi FC

Meanwhile, Suphanburi’s winning goal in a huge match at home to Chainat came courtesy of a Kim Sung-hwan header that was clearly offside. Given Chainat’s survival in T1 last year came courtesy of a highly dubious refereeing performance in the same stadium last year, Suphanburi fans can be forgiven for feeling that this was just reward.

The War Elephant remain second bottom of the table, but their first victory in seven games at least gives them hope that they can turn things around.

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