champions10Now that the dust has settled on a remarkable Championship-Winning year, it might be a good time to reflect on the events that led to Buriram retaining their league title on the very last day of the season.

Having swept all before them the previous season, winning their second treble in three years, expectations were high that Buriram would simply continue where they had left off.

The hugely influential Osmar had left to join FC Seoul and everyone knew he would be missed, but not to the extent that he was.

Jay Simpson had arrived from England and much was expected of a player who had Premier League experience.

Rochela came from Spain to replace Osmar and he was joined by Tunez as his central-defensive partner. The season opened with a deserved 1-0 victory over Muang Thong in the Kor Royal Cup.


The game was not as close as the score would suggest and Jay Simpson opened his account with a well taken goal.

The league began with an easy 3-0 home victory over Songkhla but that was followed by a disappointing goaless home draw with Ratchaburi.

There was evidence that cracks were appearing in the defence and this became very apparent in the trip to BEC Tero.

Buriram suffered a 3-2 defeat but don’t be fooled by the scoreline, Buriram were taken apart by a superb attacking display by the home side.

Koomson caused havoc down the flanks and Osmar’s authority and organizational skills were badly missed.


This was followed by an even more comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Bangkok Glass. Once again the defence looked all-at-sea and Buriram showed few attacking ideas up front.

Having remained unbeaten in the league the previous season, Buriram had lost two of the first four games.

An unconvincing home win over Rayong was followed by a disappointing draw at Chiangrai and an even more unsatisfactory draw at home to Samut Songkhram.

Another draw at Suphanburi came next but worse was to follow when Buriram went down 1-0 at Singhtarua.

Kun Newin had already taken the decision to replace Head Coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia and installed Bozidar Bandevic.

A decision which was perfectly understandable, taking into consideration Buriram’s poor start to the season.

So after nine games, almost a quarter of the season, Buriram had already lost three games and were languishing in thirteenth place with ten points, already ten points behind leaders Muang Thong.

However, Rochela and Tunez were beginning to form a solid defensive partnership and there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Carmelo was not scoring as frequently as the previous season but he was beginning to pose problems for opposing defences.


A much improved performance at home to Chonburi resulted in a deserved 2-0 victory and this was the start of an eighteen game unbeaten run, with Buriram winning fifteen of them.

Muang Thong began dropping points and Buriram whittled away their one-time big lead.

Another change of coach took place after the home draw with BEC Tero with the appointment of Brazilian Alexandre Gama but Buriram’s title charge continued unhindered.


Buriram returned to the top on July 23rd and were to remain there until four games from the end of the season. Chonburi had  also been on a long unbeaten run  and became Buriram’s main rivals for the title. 

This eventful season then took another unexpected turn when Carmelo was sent off in the League Cup semi-final against Ratchaburi for allegedly trying to hit the referee with the ball.

This resulted in an unprecedented lengthy ban by the FAT.

This matter has already been well-documented so there is no need for further comment. Suffice it to say that it galvanized the club into a very tight-knit unit, with owners, fans and teammates showing wonderful support for the unfortunate Spaniard.

On the field Buriram continued to do the business. They were employing a new formation, playing three at the back, with Rochela moving into a holding midfield role.


This gave them more freedom to attack but did leave them a little more vulnerable at the back, particularly down the flanks.

Chiangrai and Suphanburi were blown away in superb home displays before the crucial visit to Chonburi.

In a very low key encounter, both teams seemed happy to settle for a point before Buriram conceded a very sloppy goal two minutes from the end.

This opened up the Championship race, with Buriram having to travel to bitter rivals Muang Thong.

This was probably Buriram’s finest hour and despite being on the wrong end of some questionable decisions, a ten-man Buriram came away with a fantastic 1-0 victory.

There then followed a month-long break for the Asian Games, with Buriram holding a narrow advantage over Chonburi.

The FAT confirmed that Carmelo could now be selected to play and when the season resumed, the Spaniard inspired Buriram to a great 3-1 win at Sisaket.

That meant that Buriram held a four point advantage over Chonburi with five games to play. The title was in their hands. There then followed a remarkable series of events which would see a dramatic turnaround.

Buriram were beaten 2-0 by BEC Tero in the Toyota League Cup Final. It was not the result but the manor in which Buriram capitulated which was the worrying factor. It was a very poor performance and it was not to be the last.


Buriram drew 2-2 with Osotspa in the next league game, having twice taken the lead but allowing their opponents to equalize almost immediately both times.

The second being only two minutes from time. With Chonburi winning, the lead was now only two points.

Buriram had not played well and it got worse. Three days later, they turned in their worst performance of the season, losing 2-0 to Bangkok United. Chonburi took full advantage to go one point ahead with three games left.

It was a desperate situation but a Carmelo-inspired 3-1 victory over Chainat Hornbill gave Buriram fresh hope. But Chonburi also won to maintain their slender one point advantage. However, high drama was just round the corner.

Buriram traveled to TOT and came away with a 2-0 victory in what was a very solid performance. Meanwhile Chonburi were at Chainat, who lost both goalkeepers to injuries but incredibly were hanging on to a 1-1 draw.


Both injuries resulted in lengthy stoppages.

There appeared to be some confusion about how much added time should be played but very close to the end Chonburi got the ball in the Chainat net, only for an assistant’s offside flag to cut short their wild celebrations.

Astonishingly, that left Buriram one point ahead with one game to play. Police United were the visitors to Thunder Castle and an almost capacity crowd were there to cheer their heroes on.

An early Carmelo goal settled the nerves and though there were a few scares, Buriram went on to win 2-1.

champions cup

Chonburi could only manage a home draw with TOT so Buriram had retained their title by three points. It was a season of highs and lows, of twists and turns but one thing did emerge.

When faced with adversity, some of it self-inflicted, Buriram dug deep, showing incredible unity.

That is the sign of a great team and strangely it made this Championship even more satisfying than going through the previous season undefeated. It was a team effort but special mention should be made of a few individuals.

Patino weighed in with 21 league goals, Rochela had an outstanding season both as a centre-back and a midfielder. Suchao showed why he was voted the league’s most valuable player and Theeraton showed his class on many occasions.

When he returned from suspension, Carmelo was almost unstoppable and was a big influence in the run-in to the title. Let us not forget the wonderful

Buriram supporters who always got behind the team, even when they were not playing well. The BEST in Thailand.


A number of new faces have arrived at Thunder Castle and a fresh assault on the Champion’s League is not far away. I believe we can look forward to more success for the Breath of Buriram.