Pattaya United’s season looks set to end in ignominious fashion after fans rioted at the end of their crucial Thai Premier League fixture against Chaingrai United at the Nongprue Stadium in Pattaya last Sunday.
The 1-0 defeat to relegation threatened rivals Chiangrai almost certainly signals the end of Pattaya’s current three year stint in Thailand’s top flight. Only an unlikely victory over Police United in Bangkok this coming weekend, coupled with a defeat for Samut Songkram at home to Ratchaburi, would enable the Dolphins to avoid the drop as Pattaya have a better head to head record over Samut Songkram.
Pattaya United players remonstrate with the match referee after he awarded a second half penalty to Chiangrai United during the stormy Thai Premier League fixture at the Nongprue Stadium in Pattaya, Sunday, Oct. 27. (Photo/Pattaya United FC)
The game last Sunday was billed as a battle for Premier League survival but no one could have expected it to become a war between fans and police. The turning point in the match came in the 67th minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty kick after Pattaya defender Apinan Suantong upended Chiangrai’s Brazilian midfielder Uilian Souza in the box with a blatant trip.
Anon Sangsanoi’s converted spot kick signaled the first demonstration by Pattaya fans and the game had to be suspended temporarily while the pitch was cleared of supporters. This proved to be just a foretaste however, and when the referee blew for full time to signal defeat for Pattaya, their fans invaded the pitch en masse and surrounded the main stand where the match officials and Pattaya coaching staff were forced to flee under police guard.
The demonstration went on for over an hour with police units and over 200 officers called in from stations all over Pattaya to help quell the disturbance as angry fans hurled rocks at stadium windows and caused considerable damage to the main stand. Almost unbelievably, no arrests were made at the scene although police say they are now talking to the United Supporters Club and studying video footage with a view to pressing charges against individuals.
Even if by some miracle Pattaya manage to avoid the drop to division 1, it seems unlikely that they will avoid some form of severe punishment from Thai Premier League officials for the unseemly behavior of their supporters last weekend.
Meanwhile at the top of the table, Buriram reclaimed the Premier League title with a 2-0 win at Bangkok United. Closest rivals Muangthong United could only manage a 2-2 draw at BEC which means Buriram have now opened up a 5 point gap and can no longer be caught.
|Thai Premier League Standings (Oct. 27)|
|Muang Thong United||31||21||7||3||28||70|
|BEC Tero Sasana||31||12||9||10||4||45|
|Results: Bangkok Glass 2 – 1 Chainat, Army United 1 – 0 Osotspa, Chonburi 4 – 0 Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi 1 – 0 Police United, Pattaya United 0 – 1 Chiangrai United, Bangkok United 0 – 2 Buriram United, TOT 1 – 0 Songkhla United, BEC Tero Sasana 2 – 2 Muang Thong United.|