SCG Muangthong United fought hard and faced down a fearless BBCU FC in a 2-1 victory at the Nonthaburi Youth Stadium. Once again, the match came down to the last minutes before the go ahead goal was found, this time off the boot of Michael N’Dri.
BBCU FC showed no fear and instead were powerful on the counter attack. This was not helped by the fact SCG Muangthong United’s key central defender Naoaki Aoyama was rested due to a training injury, and the youngster Suphan Thongsong was given the nod to start from head coach Totchtawan.
The first half ended scoreless after SCG Muangthong United were unable to find a way through the BBCU defenders for a decent chance at net. Some key defensive saves were to slow down the Muangthong attack just as momentum seemed to be building towards goal. The tight marking and pressure in the midfield shut down the usual crisp passing, and Muangthong United never seemed to be able to build the creative game fans had become used to.
The best opportunity in the half came early on when a chip from distance by Cleiton Silva would have gone into the empty net had the shot not been wide. Midfielder Chanathip also had a shot from inside the box, but it ended up in the side netting.
BBCU FC were also to have chances. A header from Ivory Coast’s Ali Diarra, off a corner, was narrowly wide. Another opportunity came back out from the post.
Just one minute into the second half the counter attack paid off for BBCU FC. Muangthong’s defenders were caught up field and unable to catch the fast moving forwards, and the ball played across found midfielder Naret Ritpitakwong unmarked to slide it in past Kawin, the Muangthong United keeper.
The quick goal seemed to galvanise SCG Muangthong United, and the pace and pressure increased. Once again, the Kirin were to dominate possession and chances, and it seemed inevitable when the equaliser came, with Cleiton Silva heading in the ball on a cross from Tristan Do.
With the match tied at 1-1 after 55 minutes, both teams looked for the go ahead. BBCU FC almost had it when Nigerian forward Julius Oiboh’s run at goal and shot was off the crossbar.
Yet it was super-sub French footballer Michael N’Dri who heroically found the net for Muangthong at the 91st minute. Sarach Yooyen lifted in a perfect cross, and N’Dri ran in behind 3 defenders, who in a moment of lost focus did not follow, and headed the ball home.
“You never know, when you play the last place team it’s always tough, you never take them for granted…” said N’Dri after the match, capturing the mood of the moment.
SCG Muangthong United will play next on June 12, at home against Chainat F.C. In the meantime many of the Kirin players will be in action with the national team as part the King’s Cup tournament next weekend.