Dolphins back to winning ways, secure vital 3 points

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Pattaya NNK United thrilled their supporters with a return to form and a confident 4-1 victory over Nakhon­ratchasima F.C. at the Nonprue Stadium in Pattaya last Sunday.  The win came at a crucial time in the league campaign and the 3 points lift the club a step further away from the relegation zone.

Pattaya NNK United’s Junior Negrao (9) celebrates after scoring his second goal of the match against Nakhonratchasima F.C. at the Nonprue Stadium in Pattaya, Sunday, Sept. 25. (Photo courtesy Pattaya NNK United)
Pattaya NNK United’s Junior Negrao (9) celebrates after scoring his second goal of the match against Nakhonratchasima F.C. at the Nonprue Stadium in Pattaya, Sunday, Sept. 25. (Photo courtesy Pattaya NNK United)

It didn’t start out so brightly for Dolphins however as the visitors took a surprise lead in the match via a powerfully headed goal.  Rather than dishearten the United players, this early setback seemed to spur them on and they dominated the remainder of the game.

The man of the match was undoubtedly Pattaya’s Brazilian forward Junior Negrao, who scored a hat-trick and was a constant menace to the Nakhonratchasima defence.  His first goal came from the penalty spot after a teammate had been upended in the box while chasing down a loose ball, his second was a skilled, glancing header off a nicely placed corner from Antonio Pina and the third came via another header, this time easily converted from a perfect cross.

Antonio Pina also scored a beauty from a free kick just outside the box.  The hard drive tucked in just under the bar.

With the win, Pattaya have jumped up to 12th position in the 18 team Thai Premier League, though with 34 points they are still not yet safe from relegation.

United have three games left, two of them away matches against strong teams; third placed Bangkok Glass (Oct. 19) and eighth placed Chiang Rai United, which is the final game of the season on October 30.  The home game is against Navy F.C. on October 23.

There was more good news for United when their Lebanese forward Soony Saad said the injury he sustained against Nakhonratchasima, which forced him off the field in the 51st minute, does not appear to be as serious as first thought and the Dolphins key forward says he expects to be back in action for the last three games.

The Premier League takes a break this coming weekend to allow the Thai national team to prepare for their FIFA World Cup qualifiers in UAE and Iraq.

(Source: Pattaya NNK United FC)