Muangthong United hold onto the top spot in the Thai Premier League with their 2-1 home win over Chaingrai United. They remain one up due to a superior goal difference, as Singhtara defeted Buriram 1-0.
Muangthong began the game strong, dominating possession for the first twenty minutes. The first goal almost came at the 19th minute when left back Suriya was fed a nice pass from Datsanakon, only to be denied by the Chiangrai keeper. A few moments later Chiangrai had their first attempt at goal foiled when their striker went down in the box, however the referee waved off any chance of a penalty call.
A second chance came at the 30th minute when Datsanakorn collided heavily with one of his teammates, allowing an attacker to size the ball and make for the net. A key defensice tackle by Kim Dong Jin prevented any shot. Datsanakorn would sub-off early in the second half.
Despite these attacks, Muangthong had the major share of ball posession and passed cleanly between the midfield and the defenders, looking to feed a ball through to Jay Bo or perhaps Mario from time to time. At the 36th minute a strike by Mario was to rebound off the keeper and Muangthong midfielder Piyaphon was right there to pounce and send the ball over the keeper and into the net for the first goal.
Early in the second half Chiangrai equalized when a sudden give-away in the midfield caught Kim Dong Jin uncharacteritically out of position, and a fine run down the left side of the pitch led to the goal. It was a great individual effort. For most of the game, however, Muangthong applied pressure in the midfield with key players back-tracking and helping the defenders, such that Chiangrai managed very few completed passes.
At times Muangthong showed moments of brilliance. Teerasil Dangda continued to show why he's an all star player with the Thai national team by keeping possession of the ball while marked by 2-3 defenders, and then steering beautifully placed passes to his teammates. Despite this, at the 55th minute Teerasil mis-headed a nicely placed cross from Jay Bothroyd.
Jay Bo had perhaps his strongest game with Muangthong, dominating the pitch up front, but also dropping back to support the defense on corner kicks and other set plays. At the 59th minute he took the cross from Piyaphon and headed in what would be the winning goal.
Chiangrai attempted a comeback, however in the end Muangthong pressured the ball and denied any serious chances. Muangthong's dominance over the game was helped with key subsitutions from the bench, first with Sarawut (for Piyaphon) and then Milan Bubalo (for JayBo). Both players injected new energy and power to the pitch and ensured the balance of play remained with Muangthong United.
Muangthong's next premier league game will be at Samut Songkram, Sunday April 27th.