DERBY DRAW!! Ten-man Muangthong halted by rivals

In a footballing sense, encounters against one’s neighbours are always especially meaningful, and Muangthong United's budding rivalry against local opponents Bangkok Glass is no different. The passion was almost tangible on this crucial night at the SCG Stadium, both in the stands and on a pitch still damp from the afternoon rain.

Injuries continue to pile up for the home side, with Brazilian striker Jaja Coelho joining his countryman Celio Santos, as well as Adisak Kraisorn and Adisorn Promrak on the sidelines. Ratchapol retained his place in the starting lineup after an impressive showing against Korat in midweek, with the most notable change being the inclusion of attacking midfielder Sorawit Panthong. Right-back Tristan Do took captaincy of the side for the first time in the absence of the suspended Sarach Yooyen.

The hosts managed to keep their opponents’ attacking talents mostly at bay for the opening period of the match, with striker Frederic Mendy occasionally troubling Muangthong’s defense. Former Kirin favorite Mario Gjurovski was given very few chances for his immense creative talent to show, but did manage to trouble his former side’s defense by winning a pair of successive corner kicks in the 15th minute.

Muangthong continued to pressure their opponents, committing large numbers forward in hopes of grabbing the opener, consistently leaving only a couple of players in their own half. Despite the lack of a focal point up front, the Kirin did well to create chances through overlapping fullbacks and quick movement of the ball.

SCG Muangthong United were awarded a free kick in the 26th minute on the back of a quick breakaway, taken first by Heberty. His shot cannoned off the woodwork, and a rebound struck a Bangkok Glass defender in the arm, resulting in a penalty for the home side.

Once again, the Brazilian stepped up to take it, this time firing his shot past Narit Thaweekul in the opponent’s goal to give the Kirin the lead.

The visitors didn’t take long to hit back, as striker Frederic Mendy stole past the hosts defense to chip

the ball over the onrushing Prasit Padungchok in the Kirin goal, leveling the score shortly after the half hour mark. Neither side was able to regain the lead, and the teams went in level at the break.

It would be the visitors’ turn to strike after the restart, with Daniel Garcia heading home after an excellent run and cross from Surachat Sareepim found the Spaniard unmarked at the far post.

The Kirin came close to finding a leveler in the 56th minute, when shots from both Heberty and Charyl Chappuis were deflected by Bangkok’s defense before Thossawat Limwannasathian’s bold long-range effort barely skipped past the frame of the goal. Tensions flared as the hour mark approached, resulting in a brawl that saw Chappuis receive his marching orders from the referee.

A growing sense of frustration began to manifest among the Kirin faithful, but was finally halted when super-sub Chenrop Samphaodi headed home the equalizer in the 66th minute. The goal was a just Thai U23 international’s consistent and unyielding work ethic which also saw him play a similar role in the Kirin’s 3-2 victory over Bangkok United earlier in the season.

The decibel level continued to rise as the home side searched for the winning goal, but were unable to break past the visitor’s defenses for a third time. After 5 prolonged minutes of stoppage time, the referee finally called an end to the high-scoring stalemate between the fierce local rivals.

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