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 By Paul Murphy

Heberty Fernandes the hero for Ratchaburi in win vs. Muang Thong

Ratchaburi goal machine Heberty Fernandes signed off in style, as his final game in the Premier League of Thailand (PLT) featured a goal in a shocking 3-1 victory over league leaders Muang Thong United.

The Brazilian has netted 75 times in all competitions in just two and a half seasons in Thailand, making him one of the most successful imports in the league's short history. On Saturday, he took advantage of a farewell gift from Muang Thong's national keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan to set the Dragons on the way to a memorable win in their brand-new stadium.

Bangkok United got back to winning ways to set up an intriguing showdown with the Kirins on Sunday. Here are five things we saw in PLT Matchday 20.

1. Heberty the hero bids farewell

Ratchaburi have become one of Thai football's top teams, largely thanks to the talents of their talisman, Heberty. They have gone from regional league football to PLT top-five challengers in just five years. The arrival of Heberty in 2014, when they finished fourth, was the catalyst.

The striker won the player of the year award in his first season and left on a high over the weekend after capitalising on Kawin's inexplicable error to tap in and give the hosts the lead. Cleiton Silva equalised for Muang Thong with a header, taking advantage of more poor goalkeeping, but Yannick Djalo controversially put the Dragons back in front before Patomchai Sueasakul sealed the victory with a third.

Heberty is expected to be replaced by Marvin Ogunjimi -- the Belgian forward is on loan from Suwon FC -- but he will have a hard time matching the achievements of a player who the Ratchaburi fans have taken to their hearts.

Heberty told his Facebook followers, "I thank everyone who made this party my perfect farewell. A goal, an assist and a beautiful party ... Ratchaburi will always be in my heart."

The 27-year-old heads to Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia for the next stage of a career that has also seen spells in Japan with Cerezo Osaka and Vegalta Sendai.

Muang Thong goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan
Kawin Thamsatchanan's error gave Ratchaburi their first goal on the night.

2. Muang Thong lose their heads

Muang Thong United had won 14 straight PLT fixtures before the defeat to Ratchaburi and they did not take it well. There was an ugly end to the game as Tristan Do kicked out at Takuya Murayama in frustration as the Japanese attacker shielded the ball to let the clock tick down.

Murayama understandably reacted angrily and a fracas ensued, with Adisak Kraisorn appearing to throw a punch and a kick. Do and Murayama were red-carded, while Adisak was very fortunate not to join them.

The conduct of the league leaders had also been questionable early in the game when the players, led by Thailand international skipper Theerathon Bunmathan, protested vigorously at the failure to flag Djalo for offside when he raced clear to score Ratchaburi's second. While it did look a poor decision, the intimidation of the officials was beyond reasonable.

We had seen similar scenes on Wednesday evening when Bangkok Glass were awarded a late penalty against the Kirins. That time, the referee got it right but Kawin -- his clumsy challenge led to the penalty -- reacted furiously and was joined by several teammates in abusing the match official.

Muang Thong have developed a winning mentality this season but they must also learn to lose gracefully. The Kirins were not the only guilty party at the weekend as Super Power Samut Prakan and Chiang Rai United players manhandled the referee in their losses to Bangkok United and Buriram United respectively. Not a great weekend for player behaviour.

3. Late show sets up title crunch

Bangkok United's title challenge appeared to be fading with four points dropped in their previous two games. Muang Thong's defeat at Ratchaburi left the door open for the second-placed team to make up some ground when they travelled to face Super Power Samut Prakan.

It looked like Mano Polking's men were going to blow a golden opportunity to close the gap on the leaders as the game remained scoreless going in the last 10 minutes. But with five minutes to go, the visitors were awarded a penalty and Dragan Boskovic nervelessly converted despite the huge pressure.

Mario Gjurovski's free kick added a second and just three points now separate the top two going into Sunday's top-of-the table clash at Thammasat Stadium.

Bangkok Glass defender Matt Smith
Bangkok Glass defender Matt Smith slammed the state of the pitch at the Army Stadium.

4. Pitch battle

Bangkok Glass and Army United played out a dull goalless draw at Army stadium on Saturday but the real talking point after the game was the state of the pitch. Heavy rain over the past month has taken its toll but the playing field looked more suited to grazing than football.

Bangkok Glass' Australian defender Matt Smith told ESPN FC, "I have to say the standard of the pitch is absolutely disgraceful. This pitch should not be allowed in the PLT. There should be regulations across the league regarding the standard of the pitches because ultimately it can ruin the competitive nature of the game. When you're playing on a pitch like this, it isn't a football match any more -- it's more like a fight or a battle. It's something that the league needs to address."

Striker Ariel Rodriguez appeared to have clinched three points for the visitors when he headed past Hassan Sunny late in the game but it was ruled out for offside.

"I haven't seen the replays yet," said Smith. "But Ariel was pretty adamant that he was onside. I've been told that his arm may have been in an offside position but that his body was in line. As far as I'm concerned, the advantage should go to the attacking player but I'll have to check the replays to confirm that."

5. Chainat boost survival hopes

With Chainat abuzz after hearing the news of former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama Pongolle's imminent arrival, the Hornbills gave their fans another lift with a 1-0 home win over Sisaket.

On-loan midfielder Anuwat Noicheunpan netted the decisive strike with 12 minutes remaining to push them to within four points of 15th placed Nakhon Ratchasima and safety.

Chainat remain in deep trouble but two wins in the last three games have lifted morale and given Sinama Pongolle a better platform from which to try and rescue his new club from the drop.

Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

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