Southeast Asia Thailand

Bad Refereeing Ruins End to Thrilling Clash

Obb Deewajin

Football Tribe Thailand


There was no bigger game than the weekend’s titanic clash between Port FC and Bangkok United. The match started off in dead silence as a show of respect to the 5 fans who recently past away due to a road accident. The gesture was meant to last till the 13th minute, but the whole stadium went into full celebration mode when Elias Dolah headed in Sumanya Purisai’s corner kick.

However, Bangkok United weren’t planning on giving this game up so easily and equalized almost immediately through striker Nelson Bonilla. This strike was the El Salvador international’s fifth goal in his last three league outings.

Bonilla then almost got the Angels in front when goalkeeper Watchara Buathong rushed out off his line only to be beaten by the forward. Fortunately for Watchara, Bonilla caught too much on his dink, sending the ball over the crossbar.

In the 28th minute, the Port Lions almost lead for the second time when right-back Nitipong Selanon won possession on the halfway line and played Sergio Suarez through with a wonderful over the top ball. The Spanish maestro’s powerful left shot wasn’t high or low enough to beat Michael Falkesgaard and it was a comfortable save from the Philipines international keeper.

In the 2nd half, the match slowed down and turned into a tactical battle, with both sides failing to create clear-cut chances. That was until the 80th minute, when Bangkok United midfielder Wisarut Imura tripped Sergio Suarez inside the penalty box only for the referee, Mr. Arkom Jaroensuk, to award a freekick instead – sending the home side into a frenzy.

And if missing out on a penalty wasn’t bad enough, Suarez earned himself a straight red when he threw the match ball right into Peerapat Notchaiya’s face. The madness didn’t end there as Sanrawat Dechmitr also got himself sent off for verbally abusing the refereeing for not awarding a freekick when, in the last minute of stoppage time, a Bangkok United player was fouled by Port FC’s last defender.

It’s never a good thing when referees become the talking point after the weekend’s football and, unfortunately, that has been the case in the last two or three weeks consecutively. Credits to the Thai League and FA for their immediate reaction to ban Arkom Jaroensuk for the entirety of this season, but something more also has to be done to improve the standard of refereeing.

Port FC has been on the losing end in their previous eight league meetings against Bangkok United, so it’s safe to say a draw isn’t such a bad result. However, this means Jadet Meelarp’s men are only 5 points ahead of reigning champions Buriram United, who still have 2 games in hand and could potentially overtake them as league leaders with wins over PTT Rayong and Sukhothai FC. Plus, there is 2nd place Chiangrai United, unbeaten in previous 7 league matches, who are two points away from the top and represent a lurking threat Jadet must not underestimate.