MuangthonG United resumed the Thai Premier LeagUe season with a tense 1-0 win away to the Air FoRce Central F.C.
The go ahead goal came late in the game at the 82nd minute when team captain Datsakon Thonglo hit in a low cross from Milan Bubalo. The fitness of the squad was apparent as Milan took a clearance from the Muangthong Keeper (Kawin) and sprinted more than half the pitch with the ball before making his cross. Datsakon was the only United player to keep pace and was ready when the ball came across the goal mouth.
Muangthong had the majority of ball possession over the match, however Air Force Central did not look like a team in 18th position in the table and facing relegation. Their counter attacks were fast, and striker Kouassi Yao Hermann was difficult to contain for Artiz Borda, who went off injured at the 53rd minute following a foot race with Kouassi that he very nearly lost. Kim Dong Jin was to drop back to the central defender slot and was pivotal in stopping several good chances at goal.
Milan Bubalo was man of the match for United. During the full 90 minutes and more he was continuously running and threatening the Air Force defense. He often had two or three players marking him and would still be able to get the ball free for a pass or shot at goal. He came close to scoring at the 60th minute with a shot off the cross bar, before making the essential assist a bit later in the match.
Coach Dragan Talajic had high praise for his team. and in particular Datsakorn who ran the full length of the pitch in the 82 minute to score the goal. "He's like wine, the older he gets, the better he is," said Talajic. Yet Coach Dragan is worried about Artiz Borda who left the field injired, and the other key players still out. "Next year, you will see something better," said Talajic.
The game was a scrappy affair with severeal players stretchered off and plenty of fouls called, though no yellow cards were issued. The Air Force Central fans felt a penalty shoold have been awared late in the game, while Coach Dragan Talajic was out fo the box to talk to the fourth official several times regarding calls that were not made.
United only have a few days rest, however, as they will be at home vs. Singhtarua on Saturday, with a 6 pm kick off. Both teams will be looking to finish the season strong, and United have their first win, while Singhtaru tied 1-1 with Ratchaburi on the same night.