Buriram survived a late Navy onslaught to claim their first win of the season. It all looked so easy after Coelho strikes either side of the interval put Buriram firmly in control.. However, slack defending gave Navy a lifeline and the home side poured forward to give the Buriram defence a nervy last few minutes.
It was a far from convincing performance against a side who will likely be involved in a relegation battle this season. Pansa came into the centre of defence and had a reasonably sound game, though three at the back again made the defence look far from solid.
The first-half was totally uninspiring with neither side managing a single shot on target before Coelho struck in stoppage time. Diogo returned to the team but looked far from fully fit and rarely posed any real threat to the Navy goal.
He played in a deeper role but the usual explosive pace was lacking , though he was involved in the opening goal.
Buriram had a chance to make the perfect opening in the 2nd minute when an excellent left-wing cross found Pansa free in the box but his header was high and wide. Seul-Ki then let fly from 30 yards in the 11th minute but was inches too high.
Diogo had a chance to open his season’s account in the 24th minute but headed a cross from the left wide. That was about the end of the “action” in the first-half until out of the blue Buriram scored in time added on.
Diogo picked the ball up just outside the the box and flicked it forward. It took a slight deflection off a Navy defender before falling perfectly for Coelho to drill a low shot which the keeper got his hands to but couldn’t keep out.
A rare moment of excitement , with both teams playing walking-pace football but with no-one providing flashes of individual inspiration to keep the spectators awake.
Buriram took a firm grip on the game 5 minutes into the second half when Korrakot sent over a beautiful curling cross from the left for Coelho to expertly find the corner of the net with a deft flick.
Maikami was replaced by Narubadin in the 53rd minute and his first contribution was to receive a yellow card for a clumsy challenge. Coelho was then desperately unlucky not to complete his hat-trick in the 62nd minute.
Diogo was fouled 28 yards out in a fairly central position. Coelho’s free-kick was touched onto the bar by the keeper but the big striker collected the rebound to once again send his shot crashing against the crossbar.
Bordin was replaced by Supachok in the 73rd minute as Buriram looked to press home their advantage. However, they allowed the home side back into the game 6 minutes from time when the defence was caught out by a short through-ball which Chusana dispatched confidently past Siwarak.
Buriram were left with a tricky finale but should have had the chance to make the game safe in the 88th minute when Diogo was taken out just inside the box as he attempted to get on the end of a through-ball . However, the referee inexplicably saw nothing amiss, not the first contentious decision of the evening.
The visitors had another chance in stoppage time when the best move of the match saw Diogo find Coelho who unselfishly fed Seul-Ki in acres of space but the Korean fired over the bar.
It was certainly a deserved victory but there appears to be a long way to go for the “Strike- Back” battlecry to have any credence.
Next game is Pattaya United at home on Saturday February 25th. Please note kick-off is 5.45pm.