Buriram United emerged from the Singha Stadium with all three points after an incredibly hard-fought encounter with Chiangrai, while BG Pathum retained their place at the Thai League summit for at least another week with a comeback victory against Rayong FC.
2019 Thai League winners Chiangrai United hosted the side they dethroned as champions on Saturday, as Buriram travelled to the Singha Stadium for a tense and hotly-contested encounter. The hosts returned from lockdown on flying form, collecting all nine possible points to climb up to third place in the table.
Meanwhile, Buriram were left to watch eagerly on from the sidelines for the first two weeks back, due to a COVID-19 complication. They found themselves in 12th place with 7 points before taking to the field this weekend, with two games in hand. Victories in both would see them jump right back into the thick of the top four race, but the table still made for uneasy reading as the Thunder Castle looked eager to come away with all three points.
Both sides pressed well and compacted the space efficiently in the first half. Buriram struggled to make anything of their dominance in possession, as Chiangrai’s attacks arguably had more penetration. Ekanit Panya missed a golden chance to take the lead on 15 minutes, and Akarawin Sawasdee spurned an even greater opportunity on minute 36. Buriram, however, presented a constant threat on set-pieces – foreshadowing what was to come.
The game’s organisation began to wane after the break, giving both sides more chances to take the lead. Marko Scepovic thought he had scored just a minute after the break, but the goal was ruled out as Supachok Sarachat was offside in buildup. At the other end, Siwarak Tedsungnoen was forced into a couple of super-saves, first denying Brinner Henrique on the hour mark and then Ekanit once again with ten minutes remaining.
Buriram eventually struck in the 86th minute, as Renato Kelic got to Rattanakorn Maikami’s corner delivery and guided a powerful header past Saranon Anuin into the far corner of Chiangrai’s net. The Croatian’s contribution would prove to be the game’s only goal, as Buriram emerged 1-0 winners.