SCG Muangthong United earned an important three with a 2-1 victory in front of almost 10,000 fans.
The win was an important response to last week's away match loss, and was the first since the resignation of coach Totchtawan Sripan. The former Thai international achieved massive success at the club, leading them to a Thai League title, a League Cup triumph and an appearance in the knockout stages of the prestigious AFC Champions League. Assistant coach Santi Chaiyaphuak took the reigns for this encounter on an interim basis, with the club’s search for a new permanent manager ongoing.
Eager to bounce back after last week's disappointment, the Kirin gave the club’s faithful fans their best. Coach Santi altered the lineup with a formation featuring three defenders and high-pressing wing-backs. Once again injuries plagued SCG Muangthong United with centre back Celio Santos, striker Adisak Kraison, and midfielder Wattana all unavailable.
Despite the setbacks, the home side were firmly in control from the start, consistently pressing high into the visitor’s half. The Kirin first came close to scoring when captain Sarach Yooyen tested the goalkeeper from range, thrashing out a low, hard effort headed for the corner after skipping past an Ubon defender.
A second chance was wasted by Muangthong when a skillful dummy by Heberty afforded Charyl Chappuis plentiful time and space to tee up a clear opportunity for Jaja Coelho, who should have found the net.
Ubon grew into the game as time went on, with the full brunt of their retaliation being felt in the 23rd minute when an excellent counter-attack forced a top-class save from Prasit in a one-on-one situation.
Neither a Heberty free-kick in the 28th minute nor an excellent chance afforded to Ubon’s Thaweekun Thong-on was enough to break the deadlock. Both teams’ defences were solid, and the best chance of the half came a couple of minutes before the break, but Ubon goalkeeper Sitthikorn Klamsai denied Coelho the chance to open the scoring.
SCG Muangthong United came out guns blazing in the second half, with the roar of the home fans urging them on. The opening goal soon followed when Heberty was let loose on the Ubon defense, skipping past a pair of defenders before sending in a low-drilled shot that beat the keeper after a deflection.
The Kirin came close to doubling that lead a few minutes later when Jaja Coelho was set through on goal, only to be bought down at the edge of the box by the Ubon keeper. Jaja Coelho stepped over the ball and the excellent free kick by Tristan Do was through the wall and off the left post for the second goal of the match.
Despite the home side gaining even more control over the match, Ubon continued to threaten, with striker Aguinaldo’s header narrowly missing the post. It could easily have been 2-1 a few moments later, but Tristan followed up on his goal with a fine defensive tackle.
As the match neared it's end Kirin youngster Suksan Mungpao had his debut. The youthful attacker came close to scoring in the 79th minute, only to be cruelly denied by the post. A few moments later a scramble in the Kirin box in stoppage time saw Ubon score, with Kenta Yamazaki finding the back of the net after a number of saves and deflections from the Kirin’s defensive unit. However, the home side were able to hold on, picking up their first home win of the season.
SCG Muangthong United now have a 10 day rest period during the international break, with the next match away to Nakhonratchasima F.C. The on March 31st the Kirin host Bangkok Glass F.C. in the next home match fixture.