Champions, leaders to clash their swords

Champions, leaders to clash their swords

BG Pathum's Thitiphan Puangjan.
BG Pathum's Thitiphan Puangjan.

Thai League 1 champions Chiang Rai United host leaders BG Pathum United in the top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.

In another mouth-watering match, Buriram United are at home to fierce rivals SCG Muang Thong United.

Chiang Rai got off to a slow start to the defence of their title before the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March but have enjoyed a fine run since the campaign resumed last month.

They are now second, six points behind BG Pathum United, who are the only remaining undefeated side this term.

Promoted Pathum are equally good at home and away matches with identical 4-1-0 records.

Dusit Chalermsan's men have beaten several big teams including Port, Buriram and Bangkok United.

The Rabbits welcome back inspirational midfielder Thitiphan Puangjan, who missed the team's 3-2 win at Sukhothai last week through suspension.

Once the most formidable of domestic teams, Buriram and Muang Thong are both in the lower half of the table.

Muang Thong are 10th on 13 points, two ahead of Buriram, who are one place below the bitter rivals.

This month, Muang Thong and Buriram parted ways with their coaches Alexandre Gama and Bozidar Bandovic respectively.

Former Muang Thong player Mario Gjurovski was appointed as Kirins coach, while Gama made a return to his former club Buriram.

Gjurovski got off to a winning start as coach of Muang Thong who defeated Police Tero 3-1 last week, but Gama began his second spell at Buriram with a disappointing 2-2 draw at lowly Trat.

While Gjurovski said he has respect for Gama, he is looking forward to getting the better of the veteran coach.

"Gama has done a lot of good things for Thai football," said the Macedonian.

"This is a big match and my players are looking forward to it. Gama knows Muang Thong very well. But we will focus on our team, and I hope we win this match."

Gama is also looking forward to beating Muang Thong.

"This is an important game for both teams, and we want three points. I am confident that we will get a good result," said Gama, who steered Chiang Rai to their first ever league title last year.

The fact that he worked at Muang Thong is relevant as Gjurovski has made many changes, Gama said.

In last night's only match, hosts Suphanburi beat Police Tero 5-0 to move up to fifth place.



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