Muang Thong United striker Adisak Kraisorn grabbed the winning goal to end six months of injury hell as the jet-lagged champions warmed up for Tuesday's AFC Champions League (ACL) clash at home to Kashima Antlers with a 1-0 victory at BEC Tero Sasana in the Thai League (T1).
Adisak had not scored since netting the winner in a 1-0 victory at Suphanburi on Aug. 14 last year. The Thai international found himself sidelined for the domestic run-in, and World Cup qualifiers against the likes of Japan and Australia.
The weekend also saw victories for Bangkok Glass, Bangkok United and Sukhothai, who all got their seasons kick started with impressive performances.
Here are five things we saw on T1 Matchday Three:
1. Adisak strike heals Muang Thong's jet lag
Adisak's first goal in six months was the perfect tonic for Muang Thong after an exhausting trip to Australia for ACL action.
After a tight first half, the champions stepped up a gear as Adisak headed in Theerathon Bunmathan's cross on the hour mark to give the Kirins all three points.
Spanish striker Xisco Jimenez was rested on Saturday. But he came on as a second-half substitute and was first to congratulate Adisak on his goal.
"We are all really happy for Adisak," Xisco told ESPN FC. "It's always hard to be injured, especially long-term. We know that this was special for him after such a long time out."
Looking back at the 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar in the ACL last week, Xisco admits the team felt they should have won the game.
"We controlled the game and had the chances," said Xisco. "The only disappointment is that we didn't win because I think we deserved it."
Xisco is confident that his rest will help in his preparations for the match against the Japanese champions.
"The coach wanted to rotate some players today," said Xisco, "I accept that decision and I have to say I'm going to be a bit fresher for Tuesday.
"We know that it's going to be tough because we are playing the champions of Japan and a team that played against Real Madrid in the final of the World Club Championship. But I think we will make chances to win, and we'll give 100 percent to do that."
- Muangthong United FC (@MuangthongUtd) February 27, 2017
Theerathon hopes his rich ACL experience with Buriram United can help him with the fight on two fronts.
"We did well against Tero because, although we were tired, we survived a tough test, got the three points and managed to conserve some energy for Tuesday," Theerathon told ESPN FC. "Every game in the ACL is tough but I have been playing in the competition for four or five years, so I'm used to it."
Like Theerathon, wing-back Tristan Do was pleased that his team found a way to win again, despite not being at their best against Tero.
"Of course, it's tough playing in the ACL and T1," Do told ESPN FC.
"We're just back from a long trip to Australia but we have to deal with it. All the games in T1 are important but we have to find the right balance between resting certain players and putting out a winning team.
"It's not easy but we kept a positive spirit going because we won again and kept another clean sheet."
2. Vidmar delighted as Bangkok Glass strike six
Bangkok Glass head coach Aurelio Vidmar saw his team finally get their T1 campaign up and running as they thrashed toothless Sisaket 6-0 at the Leo Stadium.
The Glass Rabbits had failed to score in the first two games of the season, losing 4-0 at home to Muang Thong and then drawing 0-0 at Super Power Samut Prakan.
Vidmar kept faith in his key attacking talents and they rewarded him handsomely on Friday evening. Bolivian international playmaker Jhasmani Campos opened the scoring before Daniel "Toti" Rodriguez and Ariel Rodriguez grabbed a brace each, with Peerapong Pichitchotirat also on target.
"We should have scored a few goals last week against Super Power, so we are progressing well now after Friday's win," Vidmar told ESPN FC. "The six goals were what we deserved, and credit to players for continuing to push for goals.
"So far, we've controlled all three games but with varying results. We like to think we've turned the corner with the goals and can now push on. The football we've played so far hasn't been an issue for us but there was some doubt about where and when the goals would come."
3. Risk rewarded for Polking as Teeratep hits four
Bangkok United head coach Mano Polking surprised a few people with a shake-up of his underperforming side at home to Port FC on Saturday.
The free-scoring team of 2016 had yet to be seen, with just one goal scored against modest opponents in the first two games of the season. Attacking midfielders Dragan Boskovic and Mario Gjurovski were left on the bench, while prolific striker Jaycee John was out injured.
The stage was set for Teeratep Winothai to take his chance. The former Thai international striker struck two early penalties before adding two more goals in the second half as the hosts went on to win 6-2.
Polking will have been happy to see his gamble pay off so handsomely.
4. Baggio gets Sukhothai up and running
Like Bangkok Glass and Bangkok United, Sukhothai's start to the season had been below par. Following a glamour tie against Shanghai SIPG in the ACL playoff round, the Fire Bats lost their first two T1 games, without scoring a goal.
But last season's hero John Baggio got the party started with a 10th-minute strike at home to Super Power Samut Prakan on Saturday. Anton Zemlianukhin got his first two goals for the club in the second half, and Watcharapon Changkleungmoh added another before Baggio grabbed his second to make it four goals in 12 minutes.
Sadney Urikhob got Super Power's consolation in added time, but it will be of little comfort to a struggling side on the end of a 5-1 defeat.
5. Red mist descends on Ratchaburi
Ratchaburi had levelled the score at 1-1 at home to Chiang Rai United when all hell broke loose with minutes remaining. Thossawat Limwannasathian had given the visitors the lead with a deflected free kick, before Marcel Essombe headed in the equaliser in the 79th minute.
The trouble started when Sila Srikampang kicked out at Tanaboon Kesarat. Scuffles broke out and when the dust settled, Sila and Chompon Buangam received their marching orders for Ratchaburi, while Chiang Rai's Felipe Azevedo was also sent off.
Piyaphon Phanichakul headed against the bar in the eight minute of added time as the Beetles almost made Ratchaburi pay for their indiscipline.