SCG Muangthong United and Singha Chiangrai United played out a 1-1 draw in matchday 4 of the 2018 Thai League One season.
Injuries were still a significant factor for SCG Muangthong United. While Celio Santos returned to the centre back role he was not 100%, while his partner in defence Naoaki Aoyama was once again sidelined but available as a sub. The Kirin were also without U23 star Chenrop and three of their national team regulars: striker Adisak, midfielder Wattana Playnum, and central defender Adisorn Pomrak.
Nookokrit came into the defence along with Tristan Do and Sanukran after his strong performance last week. In the midfield were Sarach Yooyen, Charyl Chappuis, Peerapat, Thossawat, and Heberty. The striker was Jaja Coelho.
With the onslaught of injuries coach Totchtawan had been unable to field many of the same players match-to-match, and required several to play in out-of-position roles.
Both teams started with pace and had chances within five minutes. Former Muangthong striker Cleiton Silva took a pass down the left line, cut in towards the centre, but his shot from distance was well wide of target.
Likewise, Tristan Do jumped on a poor clearance, charging towards the box, hitting a hard low shot towards the far post, but Charyl Chappuis was too far behind to threaten with a shot.
At the 11th minute Chiangrai United capitalized on the Kirin defensive changes when Sivakorn scored from close in. The goal was set up when Bajram stepped over the pass allowing the ball through to Sivakorn who was unmarked inside the box.
Despite Chiangrai's early lead it was SCG Muangthong United who controlled most of the play in the half. Jaja showed he was hungry for goal when at 30 minutes his header flew towards the post, but was wide. Jaja was to have an even better opportunity a few minutes later when Thossawat's excellent forward volley landed perfectly, but his on target shot was stopped by Chatchai.
Later Jaja's powerfull shot from distance had beaten the Chiangrai keeper, but was wide.
When Chiangrai United did get the ball they loved to send it long towards Cleiton Silva or their new German forward Nebihi Bajram. Celio Santos cleared several attempts, and strong pressure from Tristan Do dropping back stemmed the onslaughts.
Jaja, who already had several attempts, found the equalizing goal at the 40th minute, one timing the pass from Charyl Chappuis with a left footed low drive into the net.
A few moments later Kampon had to the vigilant between the pipes, making a key save and the teams headed to the locker rooms 1-1 at halftime.
Kirin fans were happy to see Naoaki Aoyama subbed in to start the half, with the youngster Sanukran taking to the bench.
The added strength in defence was needed as Chiangrai United came out with intense pressure. The Kirin were hemmed into their half and gave up the ball several times.
Once again it was a midfield battle zone with both teams applying the pressure. Sarach Yooyen was handed a yellow at '58 after a series of battles with former Muangthong United's Phitiwat. A series of rough tackles followed that had the referee stopping play frequently to warn players.
Head Coach Totchtawan Sripan brought in young striker Siroch Chatthong at '68 looking for some added power in the attack. Over the next 10 minutes or more the Kirin were to have better possession and pressure, with attempts at goal.
And for the final 15 minutes SCG Muangthong United were clearly in control, keeping the ball in the opposing half, but unable to connect for the goal.
Wing back Tristan Do, commenting after the match, said, "With the changes in our roster, and all the injuries, it takes time for the team to develop the tactics."
The Kirin now have about a week to train and prepare before their next match, away to the newly promoted PT Prachuap F.C. on Sunday March 11th. The Kirin fans will be hoping this will allow Celio Santos and the other injured players to be back to full strength.