Southeast Asia Thailand

Buriram Back on Top as Suphanat Strikes Against Rayong

Gian Chansrichawla

Football Tribe Thailand


Suphanat Mueanta celebrated his 17th birthday with a headed goal to give Buriram United all three points against PTT Rayong, while their title rivals all dropped points in another abysmal weekend for the top five as a whole.

The weekend began with Samut Prakan City, who looked to recover from back-to-back defeats when the hosted a Trat side who are struggling to pick up points away from home. Despite losing each of their last four matches on the road, and despite going behind first, White Elephants came away with a 3-2 win courtesy of goals from Fola Durosinmi, Yuki Bamba and Lonsana Doumbouya.

Both Bangkok United and Port would follow suit on Sunday, with the former traveling to Suphanburi while the later visited Prachuap.

Mano Polking’s men came into the match after a run of three games without a win, and faced a Suphanburi side who had been incredibly resolute in defense with their new signings Alvaro Silva and Miki Siroshten. In fact, the hosts had only shipped five goals at home all season and kept clean sheets in three out of their last four games.

Bangkok United finally managed to break their resolute defense after the hour mark when a cross from Vander Luis found its way in at the far post, setting them on course to pick up a win after three games without one. However, the visitors were reduced to ten men when Pokklaw Anan was sent off for lashing out at Alvaro Silva in an off-the-ball incident. The Angels were then punished for that moment of madness when Kim Sung-hwan found the net from a corner to share the points between the two sides.

After two wins from two to start Choktawee’s reign at Port FC, the Klongtoei Lions were expected to pick up all three points against a struggling Prachuap side who were winless in six league games. The Wasps took the lead when Tanaboon Kesarat turned Siroch Chattong’s cross into his own net, and Port’s eventual stoppage-time equalizer from Rolando Blackburn still saw them lose ground on the league leaders.

Chiangrai United were also left to rue two dropped points due to a solid defensive performance from Ratchaburi at the Singha Stadium. It could have been even worse for the hosts, who were saved by a late goal from Brazilian striker Bill Rosimar, which canceled out Lossemy Karaboue’s 57th-minute strike.

All of this paved the way for Buriram to regain their superiority atop the Thai League table, which they did against a persistent and defensively resolute PTT Rayong side. The hosts showed their massive improvement since their earlier 5-0 loss to Buriram United in the first leg of the season, but they still weren’t able to stop the defending champions from collecting all three points courtesy of teen sensation Suphanat Mueanta. The 17-year-old managed to convert Kevin Ingresso’s cross with a diving header at the edge of the six-yard box and secure the 1-0 win for his side.

This poor run has allowed Muangthong United to throw themselves back into the discussion, winning their fourth consecutive game and picking up 21 points from Alexandre Gama’s 9 games in charge. Heberty Fernandes was at it again, opening the scoring in the 39th minute with an exquisite free-kick and wrapping up the win with a neat finish in the 87th.

The weekend’s results leave Buriram United in pole position again to defend their title, but Chiangrai United will continue to pile on the pressure by sitting only a single point behind. Both sides have back-t0-back away trips for the FA Cup quarter-finals and Round 23 of the league, meaning that the coming week could be a test of their resolve.