Southeast Asia Thailand

Buriram Reclaim Thai League 1 Crown with Derby Win

After being delayed three times, Buriram United’s coronation as 2021/22 Thai League 1 champions finally happened on Sunday, with the Thunder Castles clinching their 8th top-flight title thanks to a 3-0 win away at local rivals Nongbua Pitchaya.

Buriram would’ve wrapped up their league title as early as late March, however, a home defeat at the hands of BG Pathum United as well as two draws away at Isan rivals Khonkaen United and at home to Leo Chiangrai United meant that Masatada Ishii’s men had to wait until Sunday for their coronation.

Having been promoted into the Thai League 1 last season, Nongbua are sitting pretty in 6th place on the Thai League 1 table, above more established teams such as Port FC, Ratchaburi Mitr Phol, Police Tero, PT Prachuap, and Suphanburi FC. A shock win over Buriram on Sunday would mean that Nongbua will be able to plot a surprise charge for a ticket to the AFC Champions League, with the Gamecocks only six points off third-placed True Bangkok United.

However, Sunday’s match was pretty much one-way traffic for a Buriram side determined to sew up their title after three missed chances. Supachok Sarachat gave Buriram the lead in 30th minute, working together with his brother Suphanat Mueanta to breach Nattaphong Kajonmalee between the Nongbua sticks.

Nattaphong was once again beaten in the 69th minute, after Theerathon Bunmatan seized advantage of an Aung Thu pass to double Buriram’s lead.

The three points – and with it, the 2021/22 Thai League 1 title – was sealed in the 82nd minute. A precise ball from Supachok was blasted into Nattaphong’s goal by Kenyan striker Ayub Masika, ensuring that Buriram would come out on top in this Isan Derby.

With the Thai League 1 crown once again returning to Buriram, dethroned champions BGPU at least had something to cheer for on Sunday as they blasted Nakhon Ratchasima Mazda 3-0, a result that ensured a third-straight qualification into the AFC Champions League for the Glass Rabbits.

As for the Thunder Castles of Buriram, they still have a chance of ending the season with a domestic treble. With the league title already in hand, Buriram are set to take on Ratchaburi in the Thai League Cup quarterfinals on May 4th, and they’re also still in the Thai FA Cup semifinals.