It only took four minutes for the university side to open their account when a quickly taken free kick from the halfway line caught the Raj Vithi defence and the linesman napping. An offside Jakkaphan broke down the right before he squared the ball across the box for Chawin to score.
The hosts eventually came into the game and Watcharin's free kick forced Rungroj to punch over. From the consequent corner, the same man headed narrowly wide.
In the 24th minute, it was 2-0 when Jakkaphan burst through the home defence too easily. The advancing keeper got to the ball first, but his clearance was ineffective and Chawit beat the defender in attendance to prod home.
Kasetsart were in cruise control but they shot themselves in the foot seven minutes before the break as Arlindo da Silva tripped Pairat on the edge of the box. Kim then tucked the penalty into the bottom right corner to reduce the deficit.
The big Brazilian defender made amends nine minutes into the second period when he rose highest in the box to head home Suphan's free kick.
Raj Vithi tried to fight back and Songkrod twice came close. First he snuck in at the back post and sidefooted just wide, and then his long range free kick was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Rungroj.
Chawin should have completed his hat-trick three minutes from time but he rattled his shot from eight yards onto the bar after he'd been set up by Dion Marc. He did however complete his treble in the last minute when he tapped home after the keeper had parried Dion Marc's shot into his path.
The win means Kasetsart will enter the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. Last time, they were the whipping boys of their group. I can't see that happening again this time, but then again, I doubt Chiang Mai or Roi Et will be shaking in their boots at the prospect of facing Kasetsart.
Raj Vithi now go into hibernation for five months. The fact that they have no permanent home stadium, no shirt sponsor and more playing staff than fans makes it seem rather pointless to continue unless some investment is made.
Man of the Match: Chawin - Hat-trick hero
|Kaset celebrate third goal|