In what can potentially have great ramifications for the rest of the season, two title favourites faced off at the True Stadium this past weekend. Current Thai League champions Buriram United visited emerging giants Bangkok United in the biggest game of the season so far.
With so much on the line it was to no ones surprise that the first half was extremely cagey with both sides defending well. Buriram United created more openings but there were very few clear cut chances for both teams. Arguably the best chance of the half fell to unsurprisingly to Buriram United. Supachok Sarachat was driving at the Bangkok United defence in the 32nd minute. Left back Stephan Palla was overlapping Supachok, but the Thai youngster used his as a decoy and cut inside where he was able to find the always lively Pedro Júnior. The Brazilian received the ball in a dangerous area but focused too much on power and fired his effort well wide from inside the box.
The second half continued in pretty much the same fashion as the first.However it was Bangkok United nearly went ahead in the 48th minute from a well worked move. Bangkok United playmaker Sanrawat Dechmitr was able to find the run off Tristan Do with a superb pass allowing the advanced right back to beat the offside trap. With his first touch Tristan Do was able to control the ball and set up a shooting opportunity where he blasted the ball into the keeper at the near post.
From the subsequent corner, Bangkok United nearly scored again. The ball was played into the near post where is was flicked into the air by a Bangkok United attacker. From there Bangkok United Brazilian centre back Everton was able to leap highest and just head over the bar.
It looked like the game was heading to a draw with neither team creating anymore chances. However in the 83rd minute Buriram’s Sasalak Haiprakhon played a dangerous ball into the box aimed at Pedro Júnior. Peerapat Notchaiya missed his header allowing Pedro Júnior to receive the ball. The Brazilian dribbled into the box where his strength allowed his to drive through the challenge of Sanrawat Dechmitr. With another touch Pedro Júnior fired his shot under the diving bodies of Everton and Manuel Bihr to the bottom right of keeper Michael Falkesgaard.
A few minutes later Bangkok United nearly got their equaliser. A long ball was played from the Bangkok United defence towards substitute Mike Havenaar. The Japanese international was able to flick the ball onto striker partner Nelson Bonilla who then hit the ball fiercely on the half volley. The effort required a great save from keeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen the palmed the ball away. However it looked like the ball was heading straight to Mike Havenaar before Buriram defender Chitipat Tanklang was able to scramble the effort away.
In the dying minutes of the game Bangkok United continued to press for that elusive goal. The ball was once again played into Mike Havenaar who flicked it on to an advancing Tristan Do. With one touch Do laid it off to Bonilla who dribbled into the box in search of an opening. Being directed to the touch line Bonilla was able to chip in a cross towards the back post. Somehow Mike Havenaar who was surrounded by three defenders was able to beat them all to the ball and direct it towards goal. Luckily it was hit directed at Siwarak Tedsungnoen who juggled the ball briefly before clutching it in his arms.
This win proves that Buriram United are still Thai League title favourites beating arguably their biggest challengers away from home. The win was all the more impressive as the club are currently going through a transitional period where they have lost star striker Diogo and have been giving more opportunities to Thai youngsters in the first team to replace the old guard. Bangkok United would have been disappointed with the result as they are no doubt placing the Thai League title as their main priority. Backed by the riches of True they have assembled arguably the best squad in the league, however they were no match for the energy and know how of this youthful Buriram United team.
Pictures from Buriram United FC