Buriram United remain on track to win a fourth consecutive Thai League Cup title after progressing to the final with a 3-1 aggregate win over Ratchaburi in the semi-finals.
Entering Wednesday’s clash at the Dragons Arena leading 1-0 from the first leg, Buriram opened the scoring just before the break when Andres Tunez met Theerathon Bunmathan’s freekick and out-jumped opposition keeper Chayoot Nakchamnarn to score with a towering header.
And in the 73rd minute, the contest was effectively over when the Thunder Castle doubled their tally on the night; Suchao Nutnum finding Carmelo Gonzalez at the near post with a corner and the Spaniard coolly sent a looping header into the back of the net.
Ratchaburi did manage to pull one back in the 80th minute when Heberty sent Sivaruck Tedsungnoen the wrong way from the penalty spot, after Suree Sukha had committed a clumsy foul inside the box.
But the visitors were able to hold out for the win, although their evening was marred by ugly scenes six minutes from time when Carmelo was controversially shown a second yellow for kicking a water bottle that was by the sidelines, and had to be restrained by Suchao and team officials as he furiously attempted to confront the referee.
Standing in wait for Buriram in the final are BEC Tero Sasana, who came from behind to beat Nakhon Ratchasima 4-2 at the 5th December Stadium to claim a 5-2 win on aggregate.
It had been the Division 1 League outfit who opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Malek Yawahab cleverly turned Narubodin Weerawatnodom inside the area, before netting with a sublime lob.
And five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Sarawut Janthapan latched onto a clearing punch by Todsaporn Sri-reung with a clinical first-time volley into the back of the unguarded net from all of 25 yards.
However, Korat were dealt a real blow in the 42nd minute when Ivan Boskovic needlessly got himself sent off, and the visitors made it 2-1 on the stroke of halftime as Narubodin poked home a loose ball from a yard out after Radomir Dalovic had helped the ball on into his path.
Three minutes after the hour mark, BEC Tero edged ahead on aggregate once more after Gilbert Koomson beat the offside trap and raced through down the right, before slotting through the legs of Kampol Pathom-attakul.
Still, the Fire Dragons refused to let up and Otman Djellilahine added another in the 72nd minute as he met Rangsan Viwatchachok’s cut-back down the left and lashed a shot into the roof of the net.
The rout was completed seven minutes later when Kampol came off his line but was caught in no man’s land after Koomson’s right-wing cross looped into the air after taking a deflection, allowing Dalovic to nip in and plant a header home.
To add insult to injury, Nakhon Ratchasima finished the game with nine men after Chalermpong Kerdkaew was also handed his marching orders, compounding a miserable day for the hosts that initially promised plenty.
Wednesday’s Thai League Cup Semi-final 2nd Leg Results
Nakhon Ratchasima 2-4 BEC Tero Sasana (2-5 on aggregate)
Ratchaburi 1-2 Buriram United (1-3 on aggregate)