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 By Paul Murphy

Kiatisuk Senamuang comeback ruined by Mario Gjurovski of Bangkok United

Coach Kiatisuk Senamuang celebrates Thailand 2016 AFF success
Kiatisuk Senamuang was making his coaching comeback after resigning as Thailand national boss in March.

Bangkok United's Mario Gjurovski stole the thunder of former Thailand head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang as the Macedonian maestro set a Thai League (T1) record in a 3-0 victory at Port FC.

Gjurovski scored for the eighth consecutive T1 match to ensure that Kiatisuk endured a miserable debut at his new club.

Charyl Chappuis had a more successful start as he played a key role in Muang Thong United's late winner at home to BEC Tero Sasana, but Buriram United held onto top spot with victory at Pattaya United.

Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday 19:

1. Super Mario takes spotlight from Zico

The build-up to Port FC's home match against Bangkok United focused on Kiatisuk's return to Thailand's domestic game, following the end of his spell as national team boss in March.

But the Bangkok Angels were determined not to make it a fairy tale ending and struck three late goals to dampen the enthusiasm that surrounded the appointment.

Bangkok United attacker Mario Gjurovski
Bangkok United's Mario Gjurovski scored in an eighth consecutive T1 match to set a new Thailand record.

Dragan Boskovic netted a penalty with 13 minutes remaining before Gjurovski's excellent finish created Thai League history six minutes later. Boskovic added a third in the 88th minute to pile on the agony for Kiatisuk.

Gjurovski played down the achievement of becoming the first player to score in eight consecutive T1 games.

"People who know me well know that I don't really care about that," Gjurovski told ESPN FC. "I didn't come here to make records... I just want to enjoy playing and to show my quality.

"I'm more happy for the goal than for the record. It is nice that people talk about the record and the fans are happy but, in the end, it is just three points."

Gjurovski knew that Port would come out fighting as they tried to impress their new manager and he relished playing in front of the Port FC fans.

"I knew that they would give everything tonight," Gjurovski said. "We struggled a bit in the first half but in the end we came away with three points.

"I think the fans here like me because I like this stadium and the atmosphere. I have a good connection with most fans in Thailand and I think that we respect each other.

"You can only really feel the atmosphere here when you are out on the pitch. It is amazing to have that in the heart of Bangkok."

Bangkok United attacker Dragan Boskovic
Dragan Boskovic now has 20 goals this season for Bangkok United.

Gjurovski's fellow scorer Boskovic admitted the key to victory was an improved second-half performance.

"I have to say it is a very difficult place to play," Boskovic told ESPN FC. "They have amazing fans, the pitch is small and their team is compact. We didn't play our game in the first half, but in the second half, something clicked and the goals came."

Boskovic's double puts him on 20 goals for the season, with Gjurovski on 12. The Montenegrin admits there is some healthy competition between the pair.

"This is how we work," Boskovic said. "Last season, we both scored a lot of goals but in his position, he gets more assists. I think we're at about the same level with goals and assists."

2. Chappuis makes winning start at Muang Thong

Muang Thong United earned a vital three points at home to BEC Tero Sasana, thanks to Peerapat Notchaiya's winning goal in added time.

Leandro Assumpcao put the hosts ahead in the 24th minute, but the champions were pegged back three minutes later as Weerawut Kayem headed home.

Several chances were squandered, but in added time, Chappuis picked up the ball just inside the Tero half, played it into Heberty Fernandes, who slipped it through to Peerapat and the winger slotted home.

At a young age, Charyl Chappuis' passion for football was ignited. Delve into the story of how his love for the game has evolved.

Chappuis admitted the goal was vital in a tight title face.

"It was a very important goal for us, but I think we deserved to win this game," Chappuis told ESPN FC. "We had a lot of chances and were unlucky not to score on many occasions. We are Muang Thong so, for sure, we will not give up on the title."

After months of speculation, Chappuis was happy to finally step out at the SCG Stadium as a Muang Thong player.

"It was a great atmosphere and to play in front of this crowd in every home game will be nice," said Chappuis. "The competition for places makes me and the team stronger and that's why I chose Muang Thong -- I want to get better every day."

3. Buriram's Brazilians make the difference again

Buriram United held on to top spot in the league as their Brazilian strike duo once again struck the goals that sealed a victory.

Buriram striker Diogo Luis Santo
Diogo Luis Santo led a Brazilian charge as Buriam United stayed top by beating Pattaya United.

Pattaya United gave the leaders a tough time and kept them at bay for just over an hour. But the deadly finishing of Diogo Luis Santo and Jaja Coelho proved crucial. First, Diogo stabbed home from Jaja's knock-down, and Jaja side-footed home the second after seizing on a defensive error.

Buriram's bid for the title is being built on their boys from Brazil, so they will be hoping that they maintain form and fitness in the months ahead.

4. First half-blitz lifts Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai United's title challenge is back on after a sizzling first-half performance saw off the challenge of Ratchaburi in the north of Thailand.

A slump in form that saw the Beetles win just two of seven games is over and Saturday' 4-0 victory was their fourth win in five, keeping them in touch with Buriram at the top.

Goals from Piyaphon Phanichakul, Everton Goncalves and Akarin Sawasdee put Chiang Rai United 3-0 in front with just over 30 minutes played. Felipe Azevedo added a fourth with 14 minutes remaining to seal a convincing win.

Nakhon Ratchasima striker Paulo Rangel
Ex-Malaysia Super League star Paulo Rangel has quickly made an impression for Nakhon Ratchasima.

5. Swatcats boosted by Rangel

Paulo Rangel has played just three games for Nakhon Ratchasima, but he has made his presence felt in that time.

Last weekend, a moment of magic earned the Swatcats an equaliser at BEC Tero, before the visitors crashed to a 3-1 defeat. In midweek, the Brazilian hit a hat-trick in a 5-0 FA Cup win over Nakhon Si Thammarat.

And on Saturday, the previously shot-shy side struck five again as they dismissed Chonburi 5-2. Rangel scored the third goal either side of a Dominic Adiyiah double, and the Ghanaian seems to have been boosted by the presence of a new strike partner.

The team's confidence seems to have been transformed by the former Muang Thong United striker.

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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