The 33rd match of the 2018 Thai League season was a thriller of a game that saw SCG Muangthong United come from 3 goals behind to draw 5-5 with Pattaya United.
Coach Curcic was without key central defender Naoaki Aoyama once again, and the centre backs consisted of Wattana Playnum partnered with veteran South Korean international Lee Ho. Prasit also remained injured and Kampon the starting keeper. Adison and Peerapat provided the wing backs. Otherwise the line up was consistent with most matches since the break. The midfielders were Sarach Yooyen, Sanukran, Tristan Do, Charyl Chappuis, and Heberty as the attacker, and Jaja Coelho the striker.
Within 15 minutes three goals had been scored and Pattaya were leading the match 2-1. This despite SCG Muangthong United dominating the play and posing more of a threat. An early chance materialized for Peerapat, taking the pass from Sarach Yooyen beyond the left back only to have his shot blocked by the Pattaya United keeper.
Yet the Kirin defense was shaky, and the Pattaya forwards quick to capitalize on mistakes.
A miscommunication between Lee Ho and Peerapat on who was going to tackle allowed Lukian to release a shot from inside the box to open the scoring at the 8th minute.
Amazingly, a blunder at the other end of the pitch allowed Muangthong to equalize, as Jaja Coelho knocked in the easy goal after the Pattaya keeper was upended by his own defender.
But more attacks from Pattaya down the right side exploited the inability of the Kirin to prevent plays into the centre, and amazingly three more goals quickly resulted, and by the 22nd minute Pattaya were leading 4-1.
Heberty Fernandes quickly got one back a few minutes later however, forcing his way past defenders and hitting a volley into the net for his 101st Thai League goal.
Again, SCG Muangthong United controlled the ball and pressed hard. Heberty Fernandes was upended
with a slide tackle setting up a free kick opportunity. As he's done time and again, Heberty's powerful shot was too much to handle, and the Kirin were within a goal of equalizing with the score 4-3 in favour of the visitors going into half time.
The Kirin's woes continued into the second half, and Adisak Kraison was brought into the game. Yet Pattaya United grabbed another early goal, once again with an attack down the right wing. SCG Muangthong United had a hard hill to climb to gain any points from this match.
Rounding the 60th minute Coach Curcic subbed in Poramet, the youngster having featured in the last few matches for the Kirin. With fresh feet on the field the Kirin began to look a little more lively. Minutes later Heberty Fernandes once again showed his mettle, hammering in a low hard shot to draw within a goal for the second time in the match.
With the clock ticking down SCG Muangthong United staged wave after wave of attacks on the Pattaya goal. Shots from Jaja Coelho, Heberty, and Adisak rained at the net but were off target or deflected back.
An additional five minutes of time offered a glimmer of hope, and it was to play out spectacularly. It began in the final minute when a Pattaya defender headed the ball past the touch line to try and diffuse the attack. Peerapat stepped forward to take the corner kick from the left flag. With his left foot, the ball curled just outside the six yard box, sailing over a sea of heads, until Wattana Playnum was there for a solid nod into the goal, and the score was equal.
While 3 points would have been the preferred result, fans walked proudly from the SCG Stadium after their team had shown true grit and character with a stunning comeback.
The stage is now set for Sunday's final match of the season with Bangkok United. The Kirin will need a win if they have any hope of seizing third place from rivals Port F.C., and a shot at the AFC Champions League in 2019. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.ticketme.co/events