Southeast Asia Thailand

Buriram Seal Eighth League Title with Win Away at Chiangrai

Buriram United have successfully defended their Thai League 1 title after beating hosts Leo Chiangrai United 2-1 at the Leo Chiangrai Stadium on Saturday night. This season’s triumph was Buriram’s eighth league title and ninth if one took into their account their single league title back in 2008 as the Ayutthaya-based Provincial Electricity Authority FC, and the 2022/23 campaign was won convincingly with the Thunder Castles commanding a 12-point lead over 2nd placed True Bangkok United.

Taking on 2019 league champions Chiangrai at the Beetles’ own backyard all the way up in Northern Thailand, Buriram took control in the 30th minute after Goran Causic had put the ball into Saranon Anuin’s goal.

The match itself was an evenly-contested affair albeit with Buriram having more shots and the Thunder Castles duly made their chances count as they wrapped up the title in the 67th minute thanks to Pansa Hemviboon’s effort.

Kim Ji-min scored in the 72nd minute to give Chiangrai some glimpses of home as well as putting Buriram into high alert, but in the end Masatada Ishii’s men managed to duly hang onto their lead and claim all three points, and with it, this season’s league title.

However, the current season was far from over for Buriram, as they were set to take on PT Prachuap on April 26th’s Thai League Cup semifinal as well as Bangkok United in May 28th’s Thai FA Cup final, as the Thunder Castles seek to defend their domestic treble from last season.

On Sunday, there was some cause for celebration at the Thammasat Stadium as Bangkok United thrashed Police Tero 4-1, with Willen Mota claiming a hat-trick. The result ensured that the Angels would finish the season as league runners-up and since league winners Buriram had claimed a spot in the 2023/24 AFC Champions League by virtue of their domestic treble last season, Bangkok United were set to appear alongside the Thunder Castles in the upcoming continental group stages – their first ACL group stage appearance since 2007 when they were still known as Bangkok University FC.

There were also heartbreaks for Lampang FC and Nongbua Pitchaya, as a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chonburi FC and a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Muangthong United on Sunday ensured relegation for the two sides. Newly-promoted Lampang were never equipped for life in the top-flight as they went down with a whimper, while Nongbua, who shockingly finished 6th in their maiden Thai League 1 campaign last season, suffered greatly from second-season syndrome as well as the loss of key men Hamilton, Airton, and Mahmoud Eid in the off-season as they went down after just two seasons in the top-flight.