SCG Muangthong United returned to winning form with a well deserved 4-2 victory over third place Chiang Rai United at the SCG Stadium.
The Kirin exploded into the match with total domination of the ball, creating free kicks, corners, and a yellow card for Chiang Rai United all before 15 minutes had elapsed.
The intensity paid off at the fifteenth minute when Adisak Kraisorn scored off a corner kick. It was one of those goals that came from being in the right place at the right time, as the corner ball landed in a crowd, with Adisak being there to knock it in.
Chiang Rai showed better form following the opening goal, however in the first half the Kirin defense and midfield were strong. Lee Ho, with Wattana, intercepted and blocked attempts forward, turning over the ball in the midfield.
Chiang Rai's powerful Brazilian duo, Coehlo and Dos Santos pressured hard, and a key tackle by Celio Santos denied a good opportunity late in the half. On corners and free kicks towards the goal, SCG Muangthong United pulled all players but one into the box to be first on the ball.
Teerasil and Chanathip were in form, keeping the ball and somehow finding a way to pass despite having three Chiang Rai defenders closing them down. On a couple of occasions a quick ball fed forward by Chanathip almost set Teerasil free on the goal.
The Kirin's second goal was to come from Theerthon in the final minute of the first half. Chanathip's pass allowed Theerathon room to move on net, but the full back elected to cut back across the edge of the box, and with the room placed a perfect shot past Pattara, the Chiang Rai keeper.
Yet the match was not secured and early into the second half Chiang Rai's Coelho hit in the easy goal after being left alone in front of the net.
The battle down the right wing between Theerathon and Luis Silva was to take on an agrressive nature as the two players got into a shoving match following Theerathon's denial of the ball. The referee reacted quickly with red cards to both players.
The change of pace and formation allowed the Kirin to regain some attacking form. The third goal came after an excellent effort by Tristan Do, fighting to keep the ball at the touch line, working off challenges and threading a pass back towards the penalty spot. Ratchapol, recently subbed on for Adisak, cut to the ball, and his shot was on target.
Chiang Rai United suffered a blow shortly after as a hard tackle from Celio Santos knocked Coelho to the turf, and he didn't get up.
Despite the loss Chiang Rai were able to press, and Kawin had to be sharp. A messy play in front of the goal led to a second goal, and with 5 minutes left in regular time the Kirin were suddenly facing a renewed onslaught.
Yet a 92nd minute counter attack led by Teerasil brought about the fourth goal, as the Kirin captain layed out a perfectly weighted pass for Sanakran to run onto for the strike into the goal.
The win is a huge boost for the Kirin heading into the second leg of the season. SCG Muangthong United are tied at the top of the table with rivals Buriram United. With Heberty set to join the team, as well as newly acquired Saroch, the Kirin will be a powerful force to contend with in the second leg.