Muang Thong complete undefeated season

Muang Thong complete undefeated season

By Kevin Watkin

Just two days after their elimination from the AFC Cup at the hands of Arbil, Chonburi were defeated again, this time in Saraburi by fast finishing Osotspa.

Muang Thong United celebrate their championship

With the title and relegation already decided, the main point of interest was Muang Thong’s attempt to go the entire season unbeaten, as well as seeing the two leading scorers, Teerasil Daengda and Cleiton Silva facing off.

Former Muang Thong captain Nataporn Panreut opened the scoring for BEC Tero, but the champions fought back with an equaliser from Adnan Barakat, before a penalty from Teerasil just before halftime made it 1-2. Not to be outdone, Silva equalised for the hosts on the hour, leaving both strikers tied on 24 goals for the season.

Neither was able to break either deadlock, and the match finished 2-2. Muang Thong celebrated an unbeaten league season, and a record of scoring in every match along the way. The TPL trophy was presented after the match, with Muang Thong’s Slavisa Jokanovic picking up Coach of the Year, and Teerasil named Player of the Year as well.

Elsewhere, Chonburi scored two early goals to see off Thai Port. An 84th minute Wasan Nantasan goal gave Chiang Rai victory over Buriram. Buriram’s eighth defeat of the season meant they were unable to catch BEC Tero, leaving them in fourth place.

Osotspa defeated TOT to finish in fifth. Esan’s victory over 10-man BBCU gave them sixth place. Samut Songkram ensured they received a four million baht bonus for finishing in the top eight, with their defeat of Pattaya moving them up to seventh.

There were goals and cards aplenty in Songkla, as Wuachon finished with nine men and Bangkok Glass with five goals. The result had little effect on the table, with the Glass Rabbits finishing a disappointing eight, having spent most of the season just outside the top four.

After playing seven consecutive games at home, Police showed they were fine with travelling, defeating last placed TTM. Finally Chainat defeated Army, who like Buriram, fielded an under-strength side with one eye on next weekend’s FA Cup Final.

Osotspa 3-1 Chonburi

Chiang Rai Utd 2-1 Buriram Utd
TTM 0-2 Police Utd
Samut Songkram 2-0 Pattaya Utd
BEC Tero 2-2 Muang Thong Utd
Thai Port 1-2 Chonburi
Wuachon Utd 1-5 Bangkok Glass
Chainat 1-0 Army Utd
TOT 1-3 Osotspa
Esan Utd 1-0 BBCU

Division 1

The top three all won to celebrate their promotions in style. Rachaburi are champions, with Supanburi second and Bangkok Utd taking the third promotion place. Sri Racha finish fourth despite their loss, with PTT fifth.

At the bottom of the table one relegation spot was still to be decided. Phuket guaranteed their safety with a 4-0 thrashing of relegated Rajpracha. Khon Kaen, also threatened by relegation fought and scrapped, literally, to preserve their League 1 status. Despite finishing with just eight men on the pitch, they were able to hold on and beat Saraburi, who also had a player sent off.

Those two results made Songkla’s draw at Chantaburi meaningless, though in any case, the Bulls would have needed a win to have any chance of survival. Lee Tuck’s goal for Bangkok FC against Krabi meant he won the Golden Boot with 23 goals, despite rival Kouassi Yao Hermann’s double for Air Force.

As we look ahead to next season, questions remain over the future of a number of clubs. TTM have confirmed that they will compete in League 1 next season, but the Port Authority are meeting to discuss their future sponsorship of the club, despite earlier assurances of support.

In League 1, relegated Patalung and Rajpracha may also disappear. Like Port, Rajpracha are a club with a long and proud history, and it will be sad to see them go. Songkla’s dissolution and amalgamation with Wuachon Utd is almost certain. The merger reflects the darker side of Thai football. Songkla are a genuine provincial side, who have made their way up the divisions, and weren’t far off promotion last season.

However, their owner wanted instant success, and bought Buriram FC’s spot in the TPL when the two Buriram sides ‘merged’ for 2012. Songkla were designated a youth side, and despite a bright start, faded later in the season.

Finally, even sixth-placed Krabi’s board are meeting to decide if the club can afford to continue. The sudden ‘boom’ in Thai football has seen a lot of clubs overreaching in a bid for short-term success, and they’re now finding that there’s no safety net in place.

Bangkok FC 2-1 Krabi
Siam Navy 2-2 PTT Rayong
Chantaburi 0-0 Songkla
Phuket 4-0 JW Rangsit
Rachaburi 6-2 Rajpracha
Air Force Utd 3-1 Nakon Rachasima
Patalung 1-4 Bangkok Utd
Saraburi 1-2 Khon Kaen
Sri Racha 0-2 Supanburi

Division 2 Champions’ League (Week 4)

Group A
Pattani 0-2 Ayutthaya
Paknampo NSRU 2-1 Rayong Utd
Roi Et Utd 1-1 Pitsanulok

STANDINGS: Ayutthaya 10pts, Paknampo 7, Roi Et 5, Rayong Utd 4, Pattani 3, Pitsanulok 2

Group B
Trat 2-1 Rayong FC
Thai Honda 0-1 Chiang Mai
Trang 1-1 Si Saket Utd

STANDINGS: Trat & Rayong 9pts, Si Saket 7, Chiang Mai 4, Thai Honda 3, Trang 2.

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