Football Tribe SEA Editor
Bangkok United and Ratchaburi finish the month of February with perfect records, after both emerged victorious from their clashes on Saturday.
The capital club hosted defending champions Chiangrai United at the Thammasat Stadium, fresh off impressive away victories against Muangthong United and Samut Prakan City respectively. Meanwhile, five points from three games was not a bad record for the visitors, who also had Champions League commitments to deal with, and were known to be defensively solid against their other title rivals last season.
Bangkok United thought they had the lead when Nattawut Suksum got beyond the onrushing goalkeeper, but was only able to hit the post when faced with an empty net. There was a sense of the same old worries creeping back into their game when the spurned chance was followed up by a goal for the visitors, as Brinner headed in from a corner in the 33rd minute.
However, just as in their last two encounters, the Angels didn’t let their heads drop after encountering the setback, leveling through a set-piece routine of their own. Vander Luiz’s deep cross to the back post was met by Manuel Bihr, who remained onside by inches to cancel out the visitor’s lead after just three minutes.
Chiangrai’s fatigue really began to show in the second half, spending most of their time in a low block attempting to repel Bangkok’s attacking force. The hosts bought on striker Brenner Marlos to provide more punch up front, and the Brazilian thought he had scored his first Thai League goal before it was ruled out for offside due to an intervention from VAR.
Thankfully for the hosts, their efforts eventually paid off when Hajime Hosogai arrived in the box to latch onto a scuffed clearance from Tanasak Srisai, and the former Japanese international kept his cool to find the net in the 83rd minute, sparking scenes of wild celebration.
With the momentum firmly on their side, the floodgates opened and Bangkok United continued to go for the kill. Brenner eventually got his first goal in new colors in the 87th minute, before a 4-on-3 breakaway allowed Sanrawat Dechmitr to tap in a fourth in stoppage time.
Emerging victorious for four consecutive games, something the side hadn’t managed to do for the whole of last season, sent a clear message of intent from the hosts. Additionally, managing to collect the points despite the early setback is also a great sign for Mano Polking’s men.
Elsewhere, Ratchaburi needed another stoppage-time winner from Javier Patino to seal all three points for the second time this week at the Mitr Phol Stadium. The Filipino international followed up his heroics against Buriram by making the most of the side’s quick corner routine, getting his head to Steeven Langil’s cross in the 94th minute to get the better of visitors Nakhon Ratchasima.
The Dragons now match Bangkok United’s perfect start to the season and sit level on points with the capital club. The two teams are now set to face each other next week at the Mitr Phol Stadium in what is shaping up to be a thoroughly entertaining clash.
In Saturday’s other games, Sukhothai’s front three were on form as Evandro, Baggio and Ibson Melo all found the net in a 3-2 away victory against Prachuap. The Killer Wasps were left stunned and disappointed after bigger things were expected of them this season, with their excellent transfer recruitment and strong pre-season showing, but have so far collected only a single point from their opening four games.
On the other hand, Suphanburi have overperformed their expectations thus far, remaining strong despite losing a raft of solid players during the off-season. Coach Adebayo Gbadebo has mastered the art of remaining tight at the back, leading his side to their second consecutive 1-0 win. The return of Thai international Suphan Thongsong has also provided a major boost to the War Elephants’ squad.