After floundering at the hands of Bangkok Utd, Port will need to batten down the hatches to avoid being cast adrift in the lower regions of T1. Befogged by copious amounts of grog, Saturday’s performance did not seem too bad, but with the benefit of a highlights video, it was clear that the defence had completely lost its bearings, allowing the Angels to cruise to an emphatic victory.
Navy will sail into Port, buoyed by a narrow victory over last year’s Division Champions Thai Honda, after two equally narrow defeats at the hands of Buriram and the aforementioned Bangkok Utd. They are one point below us and this can be officially classified as a, ‘game we need to win to remain afloat’.
Navy are one of the oldest teams in Thailand, being formed in 1937, the same year as Air Force, and a good 30 years ahead of Port. This is their third consecutive year in the top flight and were sitting precariously above the relegation zone last year when the season ended prematurely.
Their early form suggests a well-organized defence and a solid midfield, possibly one of the oldest in the League; last week’s trio of Lindemann (10), Kornchan (18) and Bang Seung-hwan (99) totaling 101 years between them.
Players to Watch
German Bjorn Lindemann (10) is one of the more interesting foreign players in the League, arriving in Thailand in 2012 and featuring for Army, Suphanburi and Nakhon Ratchasima before arriving in Sattahip. He is a good, solid, technical player but may lack the pace to catch Siwakorn, we hope.
At centre back and captain, is another veteran, 35 year old Nataporn Phanrit (6), who earned 70 caps for the Thai National team between 2001-12. Navy are his 9th club in the top flight.
Finally, the third player to watch, was the scorer of the winning penalty against Thai Honda, Brazilian, Rodrigo Vergilio (23), a nifty centre-forward capable of stretching static defences – which ours certainly was last week! Think of a two-footed Leandro without the drama.
The Starting XI
Rattanai (17) was one of the few players to come out with any credit from last week’s game and should keep his place. Jadet seems to pick his fullbacks by throwing their names in the air and seeing who lands face-up. We have been vulnerable down the wings for a while now and a settled, in-form pair needs to be established. This week he may stick with Nitipong (34) and Panpanpong (19); both have looked good going forward and Navy should not pose the attacking threat faced last week. Meechok (20) is perhaps the best alternative. What has happened to Todsapol (6)? Dolah (4) and Captain Marvelous, Rochela (22), were badly exposed late on by Mario’s probing passes but the pairing should be allowed to continue to develop their understanding. Vergilio (23) will test Dolah (4) if left one on one, but Rochela (22) will no doubt come to the rescue!
Siwakorn (16) continues to impress; he has a good first touch, is quick and energetic and can switch the pattern of play to good effect. We need to attack the 101 club at pace so Pakorn (9), Genki (18) out wide, possibly with one of Adisorn (13), Tatchanon (39), Wanchalerm (40) or the fit-again Piyachat (88) to complete a middle four. Up front, it could be the perfect moment to introduce Josimar (30) against the experienced but ageing Nataporn (6) with Sergio Suarez (5) tucked in behind him.
Tana (99) has done well coming on as an impact player while Ekkapoom (8) can also stretch tired legs late on.
Won’t even bother. This is Port.
The match will be shown live on True Sports 2 at 20:00 on Saturday 4th March, 2017