A brace of goals either side of half time by O.J. Obatola, plus another from Ludovick Takam, ensured that Pattaya United enjoyed a successful return to their newly renovated Nongprue Stadium in Pattaya last Saturday night.
Having been forced to play their home games 50km away at the IPE Stadium in Chonburi for most of 2011, United’s fans were at long last able to see their heroes step out onto home turf under the shadows of the Nongprue Stadium’s impressive new main stand.
Ludovick Takam (left) celebrates with O.J. Obatola (right) after scoring Pattaya United’s second goal against Chiangrai United at the Nongprue Stadium in Pattaya, Saturday, Dec. 17. (Photo/Ariyawat Nuamsawat)
The attendance for United’s return home was slightly disappointing though, probably due in no small part to the side attraction of the international firework show taking place along Pattaya Beach on the same evening. However it wasn’t long before the Dolphin’s produced some pyrotechnics of their own to break the deadlock against mid-table Chiangrai United.
After surviving an early scare when Narit was forced into pulling off a point blank save to deny a Chiangrai forward following a corner kick, the Dolphin’s went up the other end of the field and took the lead in spectacular fashion. A corner kick was fed in from the right wing and when the ball was headed back across goal, Obatola produced a brilliant overhead scissor-kick that saw the ball crash into the net before the goalkeeper could move. It was certainly one of United’s best goals this season.
The Dolphin faithful had barely stopped celebrating the opening goal when Ludovick pounced to double United’s lead before half time. The Cameroonian forward took advantage of a mix up in the Chiangrai defence to send a 20 yard shot past the static visitors’ keeper to put the home team in firm command of the match.
The same player missed a golden chance to put the game out of reach minutes into the second half when he blazed the ball over the bar after being put clean through by a clever pass from Obatola. This however was not going to be a night when United would be denied and they sealed all three points soon after when Obatola slipped the ball under the Chiangrai keeper from a tight angle on the left to top off an impressive 3-0 victory.
United now lie in fifth place in the league standings, level on points with fourth placed Bangkok Glass but having played one game more.
United’s final two matches of the season are both at home, this coming Saturday, Dec. 24 against Army United, and on January 7 against Muang Thong United. Both games are scheduled to kick-off at 6 p.m.
After Buriram PEA secured the title last weekend with a win at Army, Chonburi FC took over sole possession of second place with a hard fought 1-0 victory over BEC Tero Sasana. Sriracha FC meanwhile look to be heading straight back into Division 1 after they were unable to beat Bangkok Glass at home in what was a must win game for them.
Thai Premier League Standings Dec. 18
|3||Muang Thong United||29||17||8||4||26||59|
|6||BEC Tero Sasana||31||13||5||13||6||44|
|Results: (Sat 17/12) Army United 1 v 3 Buriram PEA; TOT 2 v 3 TTM Phichit; Sriracha 2 v 2 Bangkok Glass; Pattaya United 3 v 0 Chiangrai United. (Sun 18/12) Sisaket 1 v 2 Muang Thong United; Samut Songkhram 2 v 0 Thai Port; Siam Navy 1 v 0 Osotspa; BEC Tero Sasana 0 v 1 Chonburi; Police United 1 v 2 Khonkaen|