Mario Gjurovski turns stoppage time hero for Bangkok United in PLT
Super Mario Gjurovski struck a stoppage time free kick to give Bangkok United a vital 2-1 victory at home to Ratchaburi, keeping them just a point off the top of the Premier League of Thailand (PLT).
The Macedonian playmaker saved the day for the Bangkok Angels, with leaders Muang Thong United having won 3-0 at Chonburi a day earlier.
Here are five things we saw on PLT Matchday 25:
1. 'Crazy Genius' Mario strikes at the death
When former Belgian international striker Marvin Ogunjimi's 58th minute goal opened the scoring for Ratchaburi, things looked bleak for Bangkok United. A Dragons' victory would have put Mano Polking's side four points behind Muang Thong.
But the Bangkok Angels have demonstrated their ability to come from behind many times this season and in-form Jaycee John headed the equaliser with 25 minutes remaining. The final quarter of the game saw a lot of possession for the hosts but few clear-cut chances.
When Dragan Boskovic was fouled on the edge of the box in added time, the stage was set for one of the most colourful characters in Thai football. Gjurovski stepped up and rifled an unstoppable left-footed effort into the top corner. The Macedonian then celebrated by whipping off his shirt and running the length of the pitch before pulling up with apparent cramp.
Polking told ESPN FC, "Overall, we had a good game, especially in the first half when we created a lot of chances. To come back against a good Ratchaburi side was very difficult but you could see from the celebrations at the end how it brings the team closer together."
Polking was not surprised by Gjurovski's late heroics. "When the free kick was awarded, you knew who would take it," said Polking. "I said to the bench that he would score if he put it in the keeper's corner. Instead, he scored by putting it in the opposite corner. He's a genius and a bit crazy but crazy players do things like this and I like this kind of player on my side."
Gjurovski added, "I don't get many opportunities to take free kicks but the position was good for me. There is no better feeling for a midfielder than to score from a free kick. There was pressure, as always, but I know how to handle it."
The celebration was not something planned and the injury was not as it appeared.
"I celebrated like this because the goal came in the 93rd minute and it was the winning goal," said Gjurovski. "I was so happy because I knew how much we needed these three points. But I didn't injure myself, that was a joke and I'm OK.. We had a good game but we can play better. In the end, we took another three points and that is the most important thing. We can see that our opponents fight hard and want to take points from us. That means we are doing something right."
2. Adisak blunts Shark bite
Adisak Kraisorn's first-half double helped league leaders Muang Thong ease past the challenge of Chonburi. The Kirins travelled to face their old foes and have rarely won as easily at the home of the Sharks.
Adisak's opener came in the second minute when he collected Teerasil Dangda's pass, calmly rounded Chonburi keeper Tanachai Noorach and rolled the ball home. Michael N'Dri added the second in the 18th minute when he worked an opening on the right side of the penalty box before firing home from an angle.
And the Sharks misery was complete when Adisak side-footed home just before half-time. Muang Thong have now won two of the most challenging fixtures of their run-in, having beaten Buriram United last weekend.
3. Chappuis' double not enough for Suphanburi
Suphanburi midfielder Charyl Chappuis gave national team head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang a timely reminder of his improving form ahead of next month's World Cup qualifiers.
The Swiss-Thai slotted home a penalty and then powered home a header to lead a comeback for the hosts after visiting Osotspa Samut Prakan had stunned them by taking a 3-0 lead.
Despite relentless second-half pressure, Suphanburi could not find the equalising goal. But Chappuis demonstrated that his injury nightmare is behind him and has given himself a real chance of an international call-up.
4. Sinama Pongolle keeps Chainat rescue plan on track
Florent Sinama-Pongolle struck his fifth and sixth goals since joining Chainat as the Hornbills came from behind to earn a 4-2 win at Pattaya United. Supravee Miprathang gave the home side a deserved 25th minute lead but the visitors hit back when an excellent run by Tanat Chantaya drew a foul in the box and Sinama-Pongolle converted the penalty.
The former Liverpool striker added his second before half-time before Sho Shimoji put the Hornbills in complete control with a second-half double.
Yoo Jae-ho grabbed a late consolation for Pattaya as Chainat edged just two points behind 15th-placed Nakhon Ratchasima.
5. Toothless Swatcats sinking back towards drop zone
While Chainat have some momentum in the battle to beat the drop, Nakhon Ratchasima lost 1-0 at Sukhothai and have won just twice in their last eight games. Renan Marques' first-half goal was enough to sink the Swatcats on Saturday and the side from the Northeast must find their scoring touch if they are to stay in the top tier.
On only three occasions this season, Milos Joksic's side have scored more than once in a game. Next week's match at home to fellow strugglers Navy FC could have a huge bearing on their fate and they must find a way to produce goals.
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