Chiang Rai's Victor Cardozo reacts after scoring against Police Tero.
A first-half penalty was enough to give former champions Chiang Rai United a winning start to the new Thai League 1 season last night.
The Beetles prevailed 1-0 in a hard-fought battle at home against Police Tero.
Chiang Rai got the winner in the 27th minute when Victor Cardozo converted a penalty.
The match referee awarded the spot kick after a VAR check confirmed that Police Tero defender Lesley Ablorh had fouled Kim Ji-Min in the penalty
Police Tero had a quick opportunity to equalise but Isaac Honey’s effort was blocked by Chiang Rai goalkeeper Saranon Anuin and the Beetles took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Both sides traded attacks in the second half but weren’t clinical enough to impact the scoreline.
The Beetles could have added at least two more goals to their tally but first Kim and then Felipe Amorim shot wide off the target.
Supachai bags a brace
Earlier on Saturday night, defending champions Buriram United rallied to edge hosts Nakhon Ratchasima 2-1 in a northeastern derby, thanks to a brace by Thailand striker Supachai Chaided.
The Thunder Castle fell a goal behind the Swat Cats in the opening minute of their first league game of the season with Morgan Ferrier scoring for the home team.
Supachai, just back from a training stint in the UK, levelled the score in the 23rd minute before grabbing the winner four minutes into the second half.
Buriram coach Masatada Ishii praised his team’s fighting spirit.
“I am really impressed by the team’s effort. This is our first game of the season and everyone did their best. Most importantly, we won the match,” said the Japanese coach.
“We made several mistakes in the first half but the players improved and came back to win the match.”
Also on Saturday night, newcomers Lampang put on an impressive show in front of their home crowd to defeat Nongbua Pitchaya.
The winning goal for Lampang came in the 46th minute when Chawin Teerawitsri found the net with a header.