Football Tribe SEA Editor
Big-spending Port FC put the worries of pre-season to rest with a stylish 4-1 demolition of Nakhon Ratchasima in their opening game of the Thai League season, while last years’ runners-up Buriram United missed a slate of chances to lose 1-0 away against newly promoted Police Tero.
Port were out to make a statement in their opening match at the PAT Stadium, showing that they plan to be in the title fight for the long haul after last season’s disappointment. It didn’t take long for the Klongtoei Lions to get up and running, as Pakorn’s free-kick was parried into the path of Bodin Phala, who deftly crossed the ball to the back post for Sergio Suarez to head in the opener after just five minutes.
Nakhon Ratchasima’s new striker Dennis Murillo missed two excellent chances from set-pieces in the 20th and 25th minutes, as Korat heaped on the pressure in search of an equalizer. However, Port put those fears to bed five minutes later with a new striker of their own, as Bodin once again was the provider for Heberty’s far-post tap in as the Swatcats were caught out on the break.
The Brazilian then put the game beyond doubt in the 56th minute, getting on the end of Kevin Deeromram’s quick free-kick to slide the ball home before the visitors’ defense had time to react.
Amadou Ouattara reduced the deficit with a venomous first-time volley from the edge of the box, but Adisak Kraisorn re-established the three-goal lead in the dying minutes and ensured that Port would be spending week one as league leaders.
Meanwhile, Buriram United faced a resolute defense at the Boonyachinda Stadium as they faced Police Tero in their first game of the season.
Making the most of their ability to soak up pressure and hit teams on the counter, Tero sat deep in their half and were incredibly compact, forcing the likes of Supachok Sarachart, Supachai Jaided and even target man Ricardo Bueno to drop into deep positions to collect the ball, and were immediately confronted by swathes of Tero players.
The game’s decisive moment came after just 11 minutes when Narong Jansawek’s long-range free kick managed to sneak in at Siwarak Tedsungnoen’s near post and give the hosts an early lead to defend. A number of chances went begging for Buriram, including a 90th-minute goal by Bernardo Cuesta which was ruled out for offside by VAR.
Bangkok United also got themselves off to a winning start with a 2-0 win over Prachuap on Saturday. Expecting a stern defensive test, it came as a surprise that the Killer Wasps were opened up after just eleven minutes, with Vander Luiz’ through ball finding youngster Nattawut Suksum. The youngster, who spent last season on loan with FC Tokyo’s U23 side, controlled the ball well and found the far corner with an excellent effort.
The Angels then had their lead doubled in the 24th minute, as Anon Amornlerdsak’s cross was first saved by goalkeeper Kwanchai Suklom and then deflected of captain Adul Mueansamaan and into the back of his own net. The hosts held on in the second half and retained their two-goal lead for the rest of the match.
Elsewhere, Chonburi and Ratchaburi also picked up 2-0 home wins over Rayong and Trat respectively, while Sukhothai’s new signing Evandro was on the scoresheet as Sukhothai picked up three points against Suphanburi.