So rather fittingly the season ended with a slightly-damp squib and Buriram winning yet another piece of silverware. Their 2-0 victory over Thai Port in the League Cup Final on Saturday meant they managed an unprecedented treble. It’s an impressive achievement even if much of that success has come courtesy of the very deep pockets of Chairman Newin Chidchob.
Other teams must be looking up at Buriram’s lofty position and wondering how they can get close to them next season. Especially when you consider that PEA will be boosted by the arrival of players from sister club Buriram when the two combine for next season. Port fans will certainly not share the optimism of their rivals, as they’ve already sold half of their squad since the season ended and lost the other half midway through the league campaign.
The gulf in class was the main factor after a valiant but relatively toothless Port failed to penetrate a resolute Buriram backline, expertly marshaled by center half Hermann. To be fair they weren’t helped by an atrocious pitch after an early afternoon downpour in the capital turned the Suphachalasai Stadium into a mini-swamp. An uneven bounce, and slippy conditions hardly helped create a classic and once Buriram took the lead after 21 minutes, slightly against the run of play, through a well struck Rangsan Vivatchaichok free kick the Thunder Dome were happy to sit back and soak up the waves of Port pressure.
The Klongtoey Lions toiled hard but despite good work on the flanks by Ekkapoom and increasingly Scotsman Steve Robb and some thankless running by striker Sarawut Kongjareon they never really managed to trouble Buriram goalkeeper Sivaluk Terdsungnern. Still it took Buriram until the final minutes of stoppage time to wrap up the match and the trophy. As Port sent everyone, including goalkeeper Munze Ulrich, up for a corner, PEA were able to instigate a quick break that allowed Clarence Bintang to pass the ball into an empty net.
So a very, very long season comes to an end with Buriram unstoppable in all competitions. The one ray of hope for the other clubs is that PEA will at least have the AFC Champions League to distract them, and maybe now that his ban has lifted Newin might let politics distract him once more.
The season kicks off again in six weeks but we’ll be posting our highlights of the 2011 season over the next few weeks as well as bringing you the latest transfer news so keep checking back.