Buriram United sealed the 2013 Thai Premier League title with a game to spare on Sunday evening after claiming a 2-0 win over Bangkok United at the Thai-Japanese Stadium.
Following a goalless first half, Jirawat Makarom fired the Thunder Castle ahead three minutes after the break, before Spanish defender Osmar Barba added a second in the 85th minute to seal the victory.
The result was enough to hand them the crown as it allowed them to establish an unassailable five-point lead over closest challengers Muangthong United, who could only claim a 2-2 draw at BEC Tero Sasana.
It initially looked as though the Twin Qilins would keep the title race going for another week, as they took the lead at the 72-years Anniversary Stadium in the 25th minute thanks to Teerasil Dangda’s opener.
However, the hosts fought back and pulled level in the 53rd minute through an effort from Wichaya Dechmitr, before Chanathip Songkrasin put them in front seven minutes after the hour mark.
Macedonia international Mario Gjurovski did manage to make it 2-2 five minutes later and while that strike proved enough to prevent Muangthong from falling to defeat, it was not enough to see them relinquish their title to Buriram.
Third-placed Chonburi bounced back from last week’s shock defeat to Police United with a crushing 4-0 home win over Samut Songkhram.
Although it took Thiago Cunha just 12 minutes to break the deadlock for the Sharks, they struggled to break down the opposition defence until Pipob On-mo grabbed a second in the 70th minute.
But from then on, there was only going to be one winner and a brace from Leandro Assumpcao in the final 12 minutes helped finish off a fairly commanding display from Chonburi.
Over at the Leo Stadium, a brace from Chatree Chimtale helped Bangkok Glass to a 2-1 victory over Chainat to keep alive their hopes of pipping Suphanburi to fourth spot.
After both sides had failed to find the breakthrough in the opening 45, the Thai international struck to put the Glass Rabbits ahead in the 68th minute, only for Phuwadol Suwannachart to equalise for the visitors four minutes later.
But in the second minute of injury-time, Chatree grabbed his tenth goal of the campaign to hand the hosts all three points.
At the other end of the table, Chiangrai United completed a miraculous revival as they guaranteed their top-flight status with a 1-0 win at Pattaya United.
Just over a month ago, it seemed destined that the Beetles would be relegated but a stunning run of four wins in their last five games, including Sunday’s win which came courtesy of Anon Sangsanoi’s 67th-minute penalty, has seen them avoid relegation.
Instead, it now looks likely that Pattaya will be playing in the Division 1 League in 2014 as they have a far worse goal difference than Ratchaburi, Songkhla United and Samut Songkhram, the only teams they can still finish level on points with.
Ratchaburi gave their hopes of avoiding relegation a real boost with a 1-0 win over Police, courtesy of a penalty from Douglas Cardozo in the 50th minute, while Juninho’s ninth-minute strike helped TOT condemn Songkhla to a 1-0 defeat.
In Sunday’s final game, Army United beat Osotspa Saraburi 1-0 in a battle between two mid-table sides; the only goal of the match coming two minutes before the break from Chaiwat Nak-iem.
Sunday’s Thai Premier League Results
Bangkok Glass 2-1 Chainat
Army United 1-0 Osotspa Saraburi
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 Muangthong United