After some initial uncertainty, Buriram United once again delivered an inevitable Thai League 1 title triumph

Buriram United claimed a third consecutive Thai League 1 title on the back of a superb run of form in the second half of the 2023-24 campaign that saw them rack up 14 wins from 16 matches. Buriram United FC

In the end, the 2023-24 Thai League 1 campaign delivered a familiar -- almost inevitable -- conclusion.

Buriram United crowned champions once again, for a third consecutive year and a 10th title in the past 16 seasons.

After a brief period from 2019 to 2021 when they were usurped by Chiangrai United and then BG Pathum United, Buriram are well and truly the dominant force in Thai football once more.

Yet, there was initially the prospect of their hegemony being challenged.

Just prior to the halfway mark of the campaign, with 14 rounds played, Buriram were actually lying fourth on the table -- six points behind early leaders Bangkok United and even with BPGU and Port above them.

A miserable run of just one win from six outings, which started in October and culminated with a heavy 4-1 loss to Port in the middle of December, suggested that things would not be that straightforward this term.

Buriram did have two games in hand due to postponed fixtures over their AFC Champions League commitments but, at the very least, it did look like the title race could go down to the wire as compared to last season when they finished with a 12-point buffer over second-placed Bangkok United.

Then Buriram did what they do best -- they just won game after game. And what usually happens to their title rivals eventuated as suspected -- they slipped up.

There was an inkling that a 1-0 away win over Bangkok United in January -- in one of those rearranged matches -- who prove pivotal.

By February, after the break for the AFC Asian Cup, the Thunder Castle were back on top of the table.

That defeat to Port remains their only loss of the season, with Buriram racking up 14 wins from 16 matches since then. In that time, Bangkok United won just five of their 17 outings.

When Buriram claimed another win over their closest challengers at the start of March, a third title in a row looked unavoidable.

And, on Friday, they were duly crowned champions without even having to kick a ball as Bangkok United inexplicably lost 3-0 to Police Tero -- who were bottom of the table at the point and already relegated.

Buriram could even finish the campaign with as much as an 11-point margin between them and Bangkok United yet the fact of the matter remains that they did have their fair share of hurdles to overcome and deserve credit for the manner in which they reacted.

Never one to stand in the way of their brightest prospects moving on to greener pastures, it must be noted that Buriram had already lost the prodigiously-talented Suphanat Mueanta to Belgian Pro League outfit OH Leuven even before the start of the season -- a similar situation to a year earlier when they allowed his brother Supachok Sarachat to further his career by joining the J1 League's Consadole Sapporo, in a loan move that has since been made permanent.

Then, with things not exactly going according to plan early on, the Thunder Castle made the decision to ring the changes with their foreign contingent.

Out went Ramil Sheydayev, Nicolao Dumitru and Haris Vuckic and in came Brazilian duo Guilherme Bissoli and Lucas Crispim.

Bissoli, in particular, has proven an instant hit and currently has 14 goals in as many league games to his name.

With the ever-reliable Supachai Jaided prolific again with an 18-goal haul of his own, it was this increased firepower that ultimately propelled Buriram in the second half of the campaign, especially with the spine of the team steady as ever with seasoned campaigners such as Theerathon Bunmathan, Dion Cools and Ratthanakorn Maikami holding the fort.

Buriram could yet end the season with a double with a Thai League Cup semifinal against Muangthong United taking place on Wednesday, while they also have another campaign in Asia's premier club competition -- the new AFC Champions League Elite -- to look forward to later this year.

After some initial uncertainty, Buriram emphatically dispelled any notion that their dominance would be contested.

Until the chasing pack can match them for sheer consistency and know-how, the Thai League 1 may just continue reaching the same inevitable conclusion in the seasons ahead.