Leandro header keeps title race alive

By
Updated: July 10, 2017
Muangthong v Buriram 2017

With one simple nod of his head, Muangthong’s Leandro Assumpcao kept the race for the Thai League alive last night.

Trailing 1-0 with three minutes of normal time left, Muangthong had huffed and puffed but were confined to hopeful Heberty Fernandes efforts from distance. It looked like the Kirins would be seven points behind the leaders, not an insurmountable deficit with 11 games left but surely leaving them a very long shot to retain their title.

But Tristan Do’s right wing cross found the head of the otherwise ineffective Leandro a few yards out, and the title race was very much on again. It’s just a shame we’ll have to wait another three weeks to enjoy it again, with yet another break in the schedule to cater for the Thai national team.

In truth, the hosts were rather lucky to get away with a point. The first half was largely unremarkable – Buriram certainly poor, but Muangthong little better.

The hosts had most of the possession, but looked disjointed. They essentially played with four strikers on the pitch – Heberty, Leandro, Teerasil Dangda and Adisak Kraisorn – and it looked like what it was, an effort to awkwardly shoehorn all their star men into one team.

Arguably, only the largely anonymous Adisak was in his natural position – as a central striker – with Teerasil out right, Leandro out left and Hebarty as a kind of roaming playmaker, demanding the ball at every turn but confined to hopeful shots from range.

The hosts had most of the ball, but lacked fluency, especially in midfield, where Charyl Chappuis and Wattana Playnum struggled to get a proper hold on the game.

Buriram were little better, their two big Brazilians – Rafael Bastos (preferred to the apparently still-injured Diogo) and Jakson “Jaja” Coelho (pictured above, battling with Celio) – holding the ball up well, but not getting any decent service. And given their collective bulk, neither was likely to run in behind the home defence.

In the second half, Buriram came out with renewed purpose, pressing the champions more, and shocked the home crowd with Bastos’ searing free-kick from wide out on the left just after the resumption. From what must have been nearly 40 yards, Bastos’ stunning drive seemingly caught Kirins keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan flat-footed, and it sailed over his head into the roof of the net.

While Muangthong tried to respond, it was Buriram who had the better chances in an open second half, tearing the hosts open at times, with Jaja missing a good chance, just shooting over with a looping left foot shot when he should have done better.

It was a pulsating contest now, end-to-end stuff. Kawin saved well from Bastos, and on 80 minutes Jaja again blazed over the bar when he should have at least hit the target.

Muangthong continued to press for the equaliser – Siroch Chatthong had come on for Adisak by this point – but they struggled to break down a resolute Buriram, with Andres Tunez in particular a wall at the back.

It looked like Buriram had done enough to squeeze out a win, until Leandro’s later intervention. The noise at the end was deafening, with the outpouring of emotion from the home fans betraying just how vital the goal was.

So Muangthong now trail Buriram at the top by just four points, with a resurgent Bangkok United two points further back. It all makes for a very tasty run in – when we at last get to watch it unfold again.

 

Pic credit Bangkokbiznews.com

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Thai Goals, ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures, Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One

Thai Goals

Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures

Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC
Thai Goals, Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup< ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
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