It took a contentious penalty to set Buriram on the path to victory over a side who showed no attacking intent whatsoever, even when they were a goal down. From the kick-off it was obvious that Pattaya had come for a point, getting ten men behind the ball at every opportunity.
It almost worked with Buriram lacking the pace and flair to break them down though Diogo did cause their defence plenty of problems,winning the penalty that made the breakthrough.
Star of the show was undoubtedly Seul-Ki who had an outstanding game in the holding midfield role. He was disciplined, making himself available at all times and he used his long-range passing skills to good effect. It gave Buriram the shape they had been lacking and he hardly wasted a ball all night.
Up front Coelho was a willing runner and both he and Diogo came in for some heavy punishment from an uncompromising Pattaya defence. However, his first touch let him down on countless occasions when well-placed in the area.
The game itself was ruined as a spectacle by an over-fussy referee who never attempted to let play flow, awarding a steady procession of free-kicks, to both sides. However, he did give Narabudin the benefit of the doubt with two penalty decisions, the second of which he was fortunate to get away with.
Buriram almost took the lead in the second minute when Diogo was brought down just outside the left-corner of the penalty area. Coelho took the wall out of play by rolling the ball to the right, giving Diogo the chance to hammer in a great shot which took the merest of deflections and flashed inches wide.
Pattaya almost shocked the home side in the 8th minute with their only clear chance of the night. A free-kick was flicked on to leave the unmarked Chayawat with a clear sight of goal but he hit it high over the bar.
Buriram hit back four minutes later when a great break out of defence down the left saw Diogo set Coelho up with a lovely cross but the big striker tried to take it first time when he could have taken a touch and the chance was gone.
That was the best chance Buriram created though Korrakot was proving to be a constant threat with his dead-ball deliveries but sadly none were made to count.
Summing up, the first-half was instantly forgettable and a big improvement would be needed if Buriram were not going to be left frustrated by a very negative Pattaya side.
The much-needed breakthrough almost came straight after the restart. Diogo just got his foot to a bouncing ball in the area to lift it over the onrushing keeper but it was inches too high. Though the keeper didn’t get a touch, his bravery did enough to ensure Diogo didn’t have time to be more deliberate with his lob.
Buriram had another great chance in the 56th minute when Diogo laid the ball on a platter for Bordin whose first touch was dreadful and he didn’t even manage to get a shot in.
Two minutes later more poor control by Coelho saw another good chance go begging following a low cross. Shortly after Buriram made a double substitution with Supachai coming on for Ratthanakorn and Narubadin for Bordin.
Buriram finally made the breakthrough in the 65th minute when the referee awarded a penalty for a push on Diogo as he attempted to collect a ball into the box. There was certainly contact, though it has to be said Diogo went down very easily.
However, he was moving very quickly and it doesn’t take much to lose your balance when running at speed. Had it been outside the box,no-one would have complained about the decision but fouls in the area do not have to be more serious than fouls anywhere else on the pitch.
Diogo picked himself up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot. Now the breakthrough had been achieved, surely Pattaya would have to be more positive, thus leaving gaps at the back for Buriram to exploit.
But no, the visitors refused to abandon their negative approach, being still content to play the ball around at the back. Buriram then created two good chances in the space of two minutes. First, a magnificent long ball from Seul-Ki picked out Diogo wide right and the Brazilian fed Narubadin who shot straight at the keeper.
Then another quick break saw Coelho race away down the left before crossing for Diogo to rise and power in a header which the keeper turned superbly over the bar. Shortly after Narubadin was involved in two possible penalty incidents for the visitors. The first one,the referee got absolutely right but the Buriram defender was lucky to get away with catching Priori as he broke into the box a few minutes later.
Korrakot received a yellow card in the 77th minute for a culmination of careless challenges though none of which were particularly bad. Buriram were still searching for the killer second goal and Coelho broke clear in the 88th minute only to completely mess up again.
The Brazilian did get the ball in the net in stoppage time following Supachai’s persistence on the edge of the area but the referee awarded a free-kick and booked the big striker. A puzzling decision.
Coelho was replaced by Supachok who was then on hand to neatly turn in from close range a low cross from Diogo who had got clear down the left.
So three points in the bag and though it was a far from convincing performance, Buriram certainly deserved to win as Siwarak didn’t have a single shot to deal with all game.
Next game is Thai Honda away on Saturday March 4th, 7pm.