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 By Paul Murphy

Mike Mulvey makes winning start at BEC Tero Sasana in Thailand

BEC Tero Sasana head coach Mike Mulvey
Mike Mulvey, left, won his first league game in charge of Thai giants BEC Tero Sasana.

It was a good weekend in Thailand for former A-League coaches Mike Mulvey and Aurelio Vidmar as they won by a combined 11 goals to one for their respective clubs.

2014 championship-winning Brisbane Roar boss Mike Mulvey got his Thai League (T1) tenure off to the best possible start in a 3-1 home victory by BEC Tero Sasana over Nakhon Ratchasima, while Vidmar's Bangkok Glass thumped Super Power Samut Prakan 8-0.

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Here are five things we saw in T1 Matchday 18:

1. Mulvey gives Tero a lift

Mulvey's arrival at Tero delivered immediate results as his side took the lead with a magnificent volley by Weearawut Kayem in the 12th minute at home to Nakhon Ratchasima. Former Muang Thong United and Selangor striker Paulo Rangel netted the equaliser on his debut for the Swatcats, but Michael N'Dri almost immediately restored Tero's lead.

The game hit a turning point just after the hour mark when Nakhon Ratchasima earned and missed a penalty. Soon after, Chalermpong Kerdkaew was red-carded and the visitors were down to 10 men. N'Dri then netted a penalty in added time to seal the win.

"The main currency in football is winning games," said Mulvey. "And we've got off to a winning start. I thought the players showed great determination, desire and quality."

Nakhon Ratchasima striker Paulo Rangel
Nakhon Ratchasima's Brazilian import Paulo Rangel netted an equaliser against BEC Tero Sasana.

But despite his delight at the victory, Mulvey highlighted that there was room for improvement, particularly in keeping possession.

"It's a work in progress," Mulvey told ESPN FC. "We were giving the ball away too easily at times and having to defend and work harder off the ball. There was a sense of frustration, but credit to Nakhon Ratchasima... they were working hard to close us down.

"What we have to do is improve our ability to keep the ball in the right areas. We'll work at it in training and hopefully in a few weeks' time, the improvement will be visible."

While disappointed with the defeat, Rangel was happy to be playing in Thailand again and hopes his goal will be the first of many.

"I'm very happy to be back," Rangel told ESPN FC. "The first match was very difficult, but I'm happy with my performance and getting a goal. BEC Tero have a good team and we will have to work harder for the next game.

"I hope I can help us score more goals and that's why they have brought me here. Of course, I need my team-mates to help as I can't do it alone but I hope that I can do my part."

Australia U23 coach Aurelio Vidmar
Aurelio Vidmar made sure that Bangkok Glass wouldn't slip up a second time against Super Power Samut Prakan.

2. Bangkok Glass make Super Power pay

On Matchday Two, Super Power Samut Prakan held Bangkok Glass to a 0-0 draw as the season got off to a poor start for Vidmar's side, having been beaten 4-0 by Muang Thong United the previous week.

It's fair to say that the two clubs' fortunes have gone in different directions since the goalless draw back in February. To date, that is the only point that Super Power have picked up in this season's 18 games and relegation now seems a formality. The Glass Rabbits, meanwhile, have surged up the table and sit just four points off top spot.

On Saturday, any shame from conceding a point to possibly the worst side in T1 history was banished as Bangkok Glass thumped them 8-0. Veteran striker Chatree Chimtalay netted a hat trick, while Bolivian international Jhasmani Campos struck twice on a night of embarrassment for a club whose name has never seemed less appropriate

3. Bandovic makes winning start as Buriram go top

Buriram United lost head coach Ranko Popovic during the mid-season break as the Serbian left the club after losing an appeal against a three-month ban for allegedly slapping Bangkok United physio Andy Schillinger.

Technical director Bozidar Bandovic is back for his second stint in charge of Buriram United.

The club's technical director Bozidar Bandovic has taken over -- as he did on an interim basis back in 2014. The Montenegrin saw his side labour to a 2-0 victory at home to Navy FC, spurning several chances before finally wrapping up the points.

Jaja Coelho side-footed home the opener in the 26th minute. But the hosts had to wait until the 83rd minute to make the points safe as Bordin Phala lashed home an unstoppable drive from the edge of the box.

The victory was enough to take Bandovic's side two points clear at the top of T1 as Muang Thong United slipped up again.

4. Sukothai comeback stuns Muang Thong

Muang Thong United would have been hoping that their slump in the second half of May was behind them as the transfer window gave them the opportunity to add some reinforcements to the squad.

Teerasil celebrates ACL goal for Muang Thong v Kawasaki
Slumping Muang Thong United have turned a seven-point lead into a two-point deficit in just over a month.

Brazilian strikers Heberty Fernandes and Leandro Assumpcao were given their debuts at Sukhothai on Sunday and midfielder Thossawat Limwannasathian also made his first appearance. But the squad had been weakened by the departure of Chanathip Songkrasin, an injury to Teerasil Dangda and the suspension of Theerathon Bunmathan.

Things looked good for the champions when Kritsana Kasemkulvilai deflected Heberty's free kick into his own net in the first half, and Adisak Kraisorn's goal put the visitors in control with 20 minutes remaining.

But Hiromichi Katano pulled one back in the 74th minute before levelling from the penalty spot with three minutes left. Muang Thong players protested furiously that John Baggio had dived for the spot-kick. But the result was that the champions had turned a seven-point lead into a two-point deficit in little over a month.

5. Thai Honda make Bangkok United sweat

Bangkok United have hit four goals or more eight times in 18 games this season, making them top scorers in T1. However, last year's runners up still sit in sixth place in T1 and their defensive weakness has them down in 12th place when it comes to least goals conceded.

Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts break down Thailand's resilient 1-1 draw with the UAE in World Cup Qualifying.

Sunday's game at home to Thai Honda highlighted their strengths and weaknesses in equal measures. Mano Polking's side took a 3-0 lead before the visitors rallied to make it 3-2.

The home side struck twice more before two strikes in added time had Bangkok United sweating as they held on for a 5-4 victory.

Things are never dull when Bangkok United play, but their rate of conceding goals will have to be addressed if they are to make a late surge for the title.

Paul Murphy has lived in Thailand for nine years, contributing to ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express (UK) sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

 

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