Football Tribe SEA Editor
Buriram United were denied victory once again, this time by a pragmatic and defensive minded Sukhothai, who managed to hold on to a point after taking an early lead.
Sukhothai started the game brightly on the attack and went ahead against the defending champions in the 13th minute when John Baggio wrong-footed Chitipat Tanklang in the Buriram backline with deft footwork before blasting a shot through Siwarak Tedsungnoen’s near post to give his side the lead.
Buriram came close to finding their way back into the game, with a number of goalmouth scrambles denying the Thunder Castle close to the half-hour mark. Andres Tunez came the closest with his header that cannoned off the bar, and Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri managed to trouble the goalkeeper on a couple of occasions as well.
However, the hosts’ 1-0 lead remained until the half-time break. Shots of owner Newin Chidchob and coach Bozidar Bandovic engaged in serious conversation after the whistle perfectly encapsulated the sense of unease at the result, which would hand a massive advantage to their competitors in the title race.
As the sun set over Sukhothai’s picturesque lakeside stadium, their goal continued to be buffeted by a wave of Buriram pressure. The Thunder Castle withdrew center-back Chitipat for striker Supachai Jaided, signaling their intent in their hunt for an equalizer. Vietnamese international Luong Xuan Trong was also called upon to help turn the result around, in place of Japanese veteran Hajime Hosogai.
However, Sukhothai came close to doubling their lead in the 76th minute, when Baggio struck the post after dodging the Buriram defense and working a window of space for himself.
Buriram finally found their equalizer with just over five minutes left to play when Tunez’s low driven shot was flicked deftly by Supachai Jaided to find the bottom corner of the net.
Joel Sami had an opportunity to steal all three point from a set piece for the hosts, but his header provided mere catching practice for Siwarak in the Buriram goal. His quick release created a chance down the other end, setting up a chance for Sasalak Haiprakhon, which required a bold defensive intervention to keep out.
The referee finally ended proceedings as Buriram failed to convert the resulting corner, with the visitors visibly dissatisfied with the result which leaves them on 23 points from 12 games, five behind league leaders Port with a game in hand.