Southeast Asia Thailand

Chiangrai Go Top, Chainat Win Crucial Relegation Tussle

Gian Chansrichawla

Football Tribe SEA Editor


Chiangrai United have established a two-point lead over Buriram United to sit at the top of the table after a 3-1 win over Trat.

Newly capped Thai international Phitiwat Sukjitthamakul was given the armband for last night’s game and put in a performance worthy of the captaincy by opening the scoring with a thunderous effort minutes before the half-time whistle.

However, things got more complicated in the second half when Lonsana Doumbouya levelled the scoring in the 71st minute, getting the better of Suriya Singmui at the back post with a flawless header which looped into the far side of the net.

Just when things were shaping up to look like a massive choke for the title challengers, experienced veteran Piyaphon Panichkul kept his cool in the crucial moment to give his side the lead in the final ten minutes. William Henrique’s cross was met by Bill’s powerful header, which Todsaporn Srirueng was able to keep out before Piyaphon’s strike on the rebound sent the Singha Stadium into delirium.

The game was put beyond doubt when substitute Akarawin Sawasdee headed in a third in the 86th minute, getting the better of two Trat defenders in the air to ensure his side would be league leaders at the end of the weekend.

Elsewhere, Chainat Hornbill pulled off a crucial win against fellow relegation strugglers Sukhothai, bringing them within one point of safety with four games remaining.

Summer signing Eli Babalj scored the only goal of the game, meeting Jeera Jarernsuk’s cross with a diving header in first-half stoppage time to seal the win.

Below them, Chiangmai and Suphanburi remained in the relegation zone after losses against Prachuap and PTT Rayong respectively.

The relegation battle now looks like a contest between five teams at the bottom of the table, who are currently separated by four points.