Teerasil Dangda helps Muang Thong win Thailand League Cup final
Muang Thong United ended the year on a high as goals from Teerasil Dangda and Peerapat Notchaiya earned them a 2-0 win over Chiang Rai United in Thailand's League Cup final on Wednesday night.
The trophy was consolation after a disappointing defence of the Thai League saw Buriram United win back the title.
The Beetles must now recover and prepare to face Bangkok United in Saturday's FA Cup final, with an AFC Champions League qualifying slot at stake.
Teerasil had an excellent early effort, as he unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards, which Chatchai Budprom punched over.
There was a scare for Chiang Rai the 25th minute as Chatchai was caught in possession by Adisak Kraisorn. The striker played the ball back to Teerasil with the goalkeeper stranded, but the skipper's shot found the side netting.
Piyaphon Phanichakul's foul on Heberty Fernandes in the 34th minute then set up a scoring opportunity for the Kirins 25 yards from goal.
Heberty's curling effort was pushed wide by Chatchai, but Peerapat was first to the rebound and smashed the ball high into the net from an angle.
The Beetles came close early in the second half when Rafael Coelho broke clear, but Nukoolkit Krutyai made an excellent block from his close-range shot.
Muang Thong hit back and Heberty played a one-two with Teerasil before shooting just wide.
On the hour mark, the Kirins extended their lead. Theerathon Bunmathan played a superb pass that split the Chiang Rai defence. Teerasil picked the ball up on the 18-yard line and squeezed his shot past the advancing Chatchai.
Piyaphon flashed a header wide as Chiang Rai tried to get back into the game, but Muang Thong signalled their intention to tighten things up when midfielder Charyl Chappuis replaced Adisak.
Everton Goncalves then received his second yellow card for a trip on Chappuis with two minutes remaining before Heberty smacked a free kick off the post.
And Totchtawan Sripan's side saw out the game to lift the League Cup outright for the first time, having shared the trophy with Buriram in 2016.
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