SCG Muangthong United win a big three points with a 1-0 victory over second place Singha Chiang Rai United. With the win the Kirin jump to ninth place as the KIRIN RESURGENCE continues.
Muangthong United were the better team for most of the match, although Chiang Rai United were to threaten several times to equalize. The close marking and tackling by both teams generated 25,29 foul calls for Muangthong and Chiang Rai respectively, and each team picked up three yellow cards. In the end the Kirin kept their focus for a well earned three points.
With two key players suspended, and several injuries to the squad, Coach Alexandra Gama rotated his roster, and he was not disappointed. Wattana, Saringkan. Patcharapol, and Sanukran all started the match and played extremely well, as well as Somporn and Bellini who were given substitution calls late in the match.
Said Coach Alexandra Gama, "A very important win for us, and we played well. With our rotation we had more energy and pace, and we were in complete control of the game."
Otherwise the starting XI were the team Gama has preferred since taking charge, with Dang Van Lam in goal, Oh Ban Suk at centre back, Suphanan to the right back, and tonight Bruno Gallo played in the left back role.
Charly Chappuis was in the midfield along with Heberty, and Derley the other forward.
Within two minutes of kickoff SCG Muangthong United showed they were out for the win, with Bruno Gallo sliding a low shot along the turf that rang off the post.
Chiang Rai were to also threaten early on, and Dang Van Lam made key saves on shots from William, who was causing havoc down the sides, switching from left to right and trying to unbalance the defense. Dang Van Lam had the best game of the season so far, owning the 18 yard box and punching clear crosses and attempts, earning the clean sheet.
Chiang Rai played a very physical game, with many tactical fouls being used to slow down Muangthong Untied's ability to move the ball quickly into the final third. Heberty Fernandes in particular was targeted heavily, and each time he had possession would have to elude several aggressive foul attempts.
Muangthong United, however, were to continue to create chances, coming close once again at the 28th minute when Derley was in one-on-one against Apirak who was able to get to the ball first.
Soon after Chiang Rai looked like they might have the opening goal when William tapped in the cross from Phitiwat, but he was ahead of the last defender and called offside. This led to a swarming of the assistant referee by Chiang Rai. Again at the half time whistle the 'Beetles' coaching staff invaded the pitch to surround the referees, and the security staff did their job to escort the officials clear of the fracas.
Approaching the end of the first half, Derley scored his second goal for the Kirin since joining the club mid-season. The chance was created with Sanukran running the ball towards the left corner flag, then Bruno Gallo took it past the defense, lofting in a cross to the edge of the six yard box where Derley was there to head the ball in.
The second half saw Chiang Rai United continue to apply tactical fouls and look for the quick transition goal. SCG Muangthong United kept their focus and were able to close down possession quickly, not leaving the forwards any room.
William threatened the Kirin goal a few times with runs to the touch line on the right, looking to cross. At times three defenders were needed to block his progress, and Bruno Gallo effectively shutt down attempted crosses.
The intensity of play became apparent for both clubs and fitness began to take a toll. Coach Gama used all three substitutions in the final 15 minutes, first bringing on Adisak, but then supporting the defenders with fresh legs. Notable was Marco Ballini making his first appearance for Muangthong at 88', replacing Sanukran.
SCG Muangthong United are in action next Saturday, a 8PM kickoff at the SCG Stadium against Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC. Advance tickets available at https://www.ticketme.co/events/117.