Buriram target a treble of trophies after thrashing Chainat in TPL
Buriram United striker Gilberto Macena believes his side are good enough to aim for a treble of Thailand trophies after he struck a hat-trick in a 7-0 victory over Chainat in the Thai Premier League (TPL) in Matchday 23.
The reigning champions are joint top of the TPL with Muang Thong United and have reached the semifinals of the League Cup and quarterfinals of the FA Cup.
On Saturday, they brushed aside the challenge of Chainat after Koravit Namwiset and Suchao Nutnum gave them a 2-0 lead at half-time. Macena then netted his three goals in the space of 25 second half minutes, a period which also featured strikes for fellow Brazilian Diogo Luis Santo and South Korean Ko Seul-ki.
Ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup quarterfinal at Chonburi, Macena told ESPN FC: "The treble is possible. We respect all the other teams but we are good enough to win the treble. I believe we can do it and we want to win every trophy."
Amazingly, Muang Thong also won 7-0 at the weekend to edge ahead at the top on goal difference. But when asked if Buriram's seven goal blitz was a signal that they are growing in strength at a crucial time, Macena said: "We just did what we had to do playing at home. At the start of the season, we were playing in the AFC Champions League so it was difficult but we are now getting back to our best."
The Thunder Castle faced an unusual challenge as a swarm of insects invaded the pitch but Macena didn't let it distract him.
"We noticed it in the second half and I got a few bites," said the Brazilian. "But it wasn't serious enough to affect the players."
Muang Thong seemed to be energised by a first half power cut at home to Navy FC, which came after a goalless 30 minutes. Mario Gjurovski gave the hosts the opener before Teerasil Dangda got the first of his four goals before the break.
Chananan Pombuppha scored a brace between Teerasil's second and third strikes and the former UD Almeria striker struck his fourth with an injury-time penalty as hapless Navy capitulated.
Chonburi's title challenge appears to be over after they lost 3-1 at Port FC in a match marred by a controversial refereeing performance.
The Port Lions took a 2-0 lead after an Anderson Dos Santos own goal and a Kayne Vincent strike. Pipob On-mo pulled one back for the visitors before the hosts were awarded a highly controversial penalty just before half-time.
As the Sharks players vented their frustration, Chonburi head coach Jadet Meelarp came onto the pitch to try and remonstrate with the referee. Even Port fans disagreed with the decision and they refused to cheer when David Rochela stroked home the penalty.
After the game, Chonburi striker Thiago Cunha took to Twitter to express his views on the game, saying, "Thai football will die if no changes". He told ESPN FC: "Today wasn't just the poorest refereeing performance I have seen in Thailand, it was the worst I have seen in 16 years of playing professional football. "
He also acknowledged that last year's runners up were now out of the title race after falling 12 points behind the leaders. "We cannot be champions. We have dropped too many points in games we should have won so we are too far behind," Thiago said.
The referee was also in the spotlight for the wrong reasons as Bangkok Glass and Army United drew 3-3 at the Leo Stadium.
Spanish striker Aridane Santana opened the scoring for the hosts in the 33rd minute before Alex Medeiros grabbed his first Army goals with a brace in the 39th and 40th minutes. Aridane levelled matters before Peerapong Pichitchotchirat took a dramatic fall in the penalty area after minimal contact from Anuwat Noicheunphan.
A penalty was awarded but Army fans will feel justice was done when Singapore international Hassan Sunny saved Darko Tasevski's spot-kick. Mongkol Tossakrai then headed the visitors in front but, once again, the Glass Rabbits found a late goal and Pravinwat Boonyong levelled the game in added time.
While Bangkok Glass make a habit of scoring late goals, this was the fourth time in five games that Army have conceded in the closing minutes.
Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah scored for the second game running as Nakhon Ratchasima came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Ratchaburi. Heberty Fernandes and Wander Luiz put the visitors two up before half-time but Adiyiah started the recovery and Parinya Utapao levelled the game with 15 minutes remaining.
Suphanburi won their third game in a row as they defeated Chiang Rai United 3-1 at home, while Sisaket pushed visiting TOT SC closer to relegation with a 1-0 victory.
BEC Tero conceded another late goal as they drew 1-1 with visiting Osotspa Samut Prakan. Adisak Kraisorn gave Tero the lead but the hosts failed to hold on and Leandro Da Luz struck the equaliser in the 82nd minute.
Saraburi stay in the bottom three after a 0-0 draw at home to Bangkok United.
The TPL title is now between two teams as Buriram and Muang Thong get set to slug it out in the weeks ahead.
Paul Murphy has lived in Thailand for nine years, contributing to ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express (UK) sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK