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 By Paul Murphy

Marcel Essombe equaliser for Ratchaburi denies Muang Thong

Marcel Essombe of Ratchaburi
Marcel Essombe's late equaliser gave Ratchaburi a 1-1 draw against Muang Thong (Photo credit: Ratchaburi).

Ratchaburi striker Marcel Essombe struck a last-gasp leveller to deny champions Muang Thong United yet another victory in the Thai League (T1).

Theerathon Bunmathan's 87th-minute free kick looked to have given the league leaders all three points at Ratchaburi on Saturday before the Cameroonian found the net just before the full-time whistle.

Ratchaburi MitrpholRatchaburi Mitrphol
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And Buriram United moved just one point behind the Kirins with a 2-1 victory at third-placed Chiang Rai United, while Bangkok United's Dragan Boskovic netted all five goals in his side's 5-1 win over Pattaya United.

Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday 10:

1. Essombe denies Muang Thong

It had been a hard fought game, but Muang Thong United looked like they had finally got the better of Ratchaburi when Theerathon curled in an excellent set piece, from near the touchline, to put the champions ahead after 87 minutes

Given that the hosts had just missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, it looked as if the Kirins were once again on the verge of a victory.

But, for just the fourth time in 10 league games this season, the Muang Thong goal was breached when Essombe got ahead of Naoaki Aoyama to guide the ball into the net from close range. The Dragons' form has been patchy this year, but they remain unbeaten at home.

Muang Thong, meanwhile, need to lift themselves for Wednesday's crucial AFC Champions League (ACL) group game at home to Brisbane Roar.

Dragan Boskovic of Bangkok United
Dragan Boskovic produced a five-star performance for Bangkok United against Pattaya United. (Photo credit: Bangkok United)

2. Boskovic lifts Angels

Bangkok United head coach Mano Polking hailed the "unbelievable winning mentality" of Boskovic after the Montenegrin hit an astonishing five goals in a 5-1 victory at home to Pattaya United.

Last year's runners up looked in real trouble as they lost four of their first eight games this season, having been beaten just twice in the whole of the 2016 campaign.

But Polking's side showed that their poor start to the season is behind them with their second 5-1 win in a week after thrashing Chonburi by the same scoreline last Tuesday. And it ended an amazing week for Boskovic, the midfielder having netted a hat trick against the Sharks.

After the game, Polking was full of praise for the man who made it eight goals in two games -- from midfield.

"I have never seen that before," Polking told ESPN FC. "It is very difficult for any player in the world, but he totally deserves it. He is a hard worker with an unbelievable winning mentality."

Polking admitted that January's ACL playoff defeat to Malaysia's Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) had hurt his team before the start of the T1 season. He praised his club's directors for their support during a difficult time.

"Going out of the Champions League was a big blow for us," said Polking. "Psychologically, it was difficult to manage and because of this game, we had a totally different preseason. Starting earlier and with the need to cut one foreigner didn't help at all. But I have already said that we were playing good football before but were not getting the results.

"The most important part of this change in form is the behaviour of my president Mr. Kachorn and his assistant Chanita. They were very cool and calm in giving me support in the bad times. That was very important. That's the main reason for what we are doing now. But again, it is not enough. We are still seventh in the table and that's a disaster."

Buriram United squad 2016
Buriram United showed why they are expected to be Muang Thong United's greatest rivals this season.

3. Buriram dismiss upstart Beetles

Buriram United sent a strong message to Chiang Rai United as their 2-1 victory in the north demonstrated why they are likely to be Muang Thong's main challengers this season.

Significant investment in the close season had some tipping Alexandre Gama's Beetles as dark horses for the title. A strong start to the year under Buriram's 2015 treble-winning coach suggested that they may be in a position to push the Kirins all the way.

But an insipid performance in a 3-1 defeat at home to Port FC two weeks ago made Chiang Rai's limitations clear and Buriram struck another blow, as they recovered from going behind to Vander Luiz's stunning long range effort.

Following concerted pressure from the visitors, Go Seul-ki levelled in the 79th minute and Jaja Coleho's delicate lob put the would-be challengers back in their place and pushed the former champions within a point of the leaders.

Sisaket striker Leroy Lita
Leroy Lita was credited with the assist in Sisaket's winning goal against Super Power Samut Prakan.

4. Sisaket win basement battle

Despite being just 10 games into the season, the match between Sisaket and Super Power Samut Prakan already had the look of a relegation six-pointer. Before kickoff, the Koupreys sat second from bottom on four points, while Super Power occupied 18th spot, with a solitary point.

It was the home side that earned a vital victory when a glancing header from Leroy Lita came off the post before Somyot Pongsuwan hammered in the rebound for the game's only goal on the hour mark.

Sisaket's head coach Velizar Popov has been in charge for just four games but recognises the potential significance of the result.

"It was vital to win and to get three points, not only because of the table but also psychologically" Popov told ESPN FC. "It's obvious that the players are under huge pressure to win the home matches, and hopefully after this win, they'll be more confident.

"The performance was not our best since I came here, but the most important thing was to win against a direct rival. Super Power have improved a lot under their new coach [Jason Withe] and also played good football, so it wasn't easy to beat them."

Popov was particularly pleased with the part played by former Premier League striker Lita.

"Since I came here, he has worked very hard and I'm very pleased with his attitude and professionalism," said Popov. "Leroy is vital to our team and I hope we can adapt the game plan to use his quality in the best possible way."

Super Power, meanwhile, are already looking isolated at the bottom. They are six points behind Sisaket, who remain in 17th place.

5. Navy FC go back to running a tight ship

It has been a roller coaster ride for Navy FC fans this season as they have gone from a low-scoring start before a three-game spell saw three consecutive 3-2 results -- one in their favour.

Such high scoring affairs clearly weren't to head coach Somchai Chuayboonchum's liking and he has since overseen three draws -- one 1-1 scoreline and two goalless.

Saturday's stalemate at Chonburi demonstrated that Somchai had found a way to fix his leaky defence. But he must now get his team scoring again if they are to win the games that will take them clear of potential relegation trouble.

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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