Charyl Chappuis says Muang Thong United can only dream of Thai title
Muang Thong United midfielder Charyl Chappuis admits that his side can now only dream of retaining the Thai League (T1) title after they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at Port FC.
The champions needed an equaliser from Leandro Assumpcao to rescue a point, while Diogo Luis Santo's last-gasp penalty gave Buriram United a 1-0 win at Suphanburi to move them within a point of the title.
Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday 31:
1. Muang Thong surrender title hopes
For the second time this season, Muang Thong United and Port FC met behind closed doors, due to persistent crowd trouble in previous years. And for the second time this year, Port FC dealt a huge blow to the Kirins' hopes of retaining their T1 title.
Back In May, the Port Lions stunned the champions with a 3-2 win at the SCG Stadium. On Sunday, a repeat looked on the cards when Josimar Rodrigues put the hosts ahead in the 63rd minute. The visitors swiftly equalised with a controversial strike as Leandro appeared to commit a foul before heading home.
The game ended 1-1 on a heavy pitch. Swiss-born Thai international Chappuis suggested that cup success could now become the priority, with Muang Thong in the semi finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup.
"We keep going, and we have yet to lose a game in the second half of the season," Chappuis told ESPN FC. "It won't be easy, but we will keep fighting for second place, and AFC Champions League (ACL) qualification. We have two semifinals to play, and we want to finish the season with two trophies.
"We can still dream of the title, but it wasn't in our hands before the game, and now it's even more difficult. We have to be careful because Bangkok United are just behind us.
"Tonight, we had a difficult game in difficult conditions, but responded well after going behind. We are a little bit disappointed, of course, but we will keep going."
Muang Thong started the year in superb form and performed with distinction in the ACL as they advanced to the Round of 16. While the Kirins may be unable to retain the league title, cup success could bring some compensation.
"We want to fight for every trophy," Chappuis said. "We had a really good ACL campaign, and at the beginning of the second half of the season, we made some changes, with a lot of new players, and we needed some time to adapt.
"But looking at it now, for the second half of the season, we did really well, we are undefeated and have played some amazing football when beating Buriram [in the League Cup] and Bangkok United. It has been a good season but, of course, we are Muang Thong and we want everything."
2. Diogo edges Buriram close to title
Diogo Luis Santo struck a penalty in added time to put Buriram United within a point of their fourth T1 title in five years.
The visitors overcame 10-man Suphanburi in controversial circumstances, with the hosts having seen a goal disallowed for a marginal offside decision.
Wasan Homsaen was red carded for a last-man foul on Diogo on the hour mark, and Buriram piled on the pressure, forcing Sintaweechai Hathairattananakool into some fine saves, particularly from Jaja Coelho's 81st-minute header.
But it took Buriram until the 94th minute to make the breakthrough. Diogo had already seen a strong appeal for a penalty turned down before Elizeu's clumsy challenge resulted in the award of a spot-kick
The Brazilian striker slotted home the penalty to leave Buriram needing just a draw in their game at home to BEC Tero Sasana on Nov. 8 to clinch the title.
3. Bangkok United keep pressure on Muang Thong
Bangkok United's performance level dropped off in September after a scintillating period of form was disrupted by one of T1's many breaks. Defeats to Pattaya United and Muang Thong seemed to end their bid to finish as runners up for the second year in a two
But Muang Thong's slip up at Port FC edged the Bangkok Angels to within a point of the Kirins, though Totchtawan Sripan's side still have a game in hand.
T1's top scorer Dragan Boskovic notched another double as Mano Polking's side defeated Ratchaburi 2-1 in a testing encounter.
4. Sisaket move closer to the drop
It seems only a matter of time until Sisaket's relegation is confirmed. Their latest opportunity at mounting a late survival bid was squandered as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against a Navy FC side who have little but pride to play for.
The team from the north east now sit eight points behind Sukhothai, with three games to play. Having lost five matches on the trot, Sisaket need to win their final three, and hope that the Fire Bats fail to pick up any more points.
5. Super Power make another point
Super Power Samut Prakan followed up their first victory of the season with another spirited performance that pushesThai Honda closer to relegation.
Super Power's drop to T2 was confirmed several weeks ago, and they showed they were determined to take Thai Honda with them by holding them to a 2-2 draw.
It actually looked like T1's bottom side were going to claim their second win as they took a 2-0 lead in the first half. But Thai Honda rallied and Rafinha's double earned a point.
Something has to give next week when Thai Honda travel to Sisaket for a game that could spell the end for both in T1.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK