Having won the mid week “war of heroes” against the villainous Muangthong United, the Port super heroes will return to fortress PAT, on Sunday, with the distinct possibility of finding a Batmobile or two parked up outside, as they welcome Super Power Samut Prakan. Whilst the name may allude to powers above that of mere mortals, the start to the season for Super Power has been more of a Loki affair for the team previously working under the alias Osotspa, as they’ve collected just one point after 15 rounds.
So, a game that in preseason jumped out as potentially the first genuine relegation six pointer feels significantly less important, with Super Power appearing to be close to a reunion with former sponsors M150, who now sponsor the lower leagues. Port are closing in on enough points to stay up, two rounds short of mid-season and on the back of beating the reigning champions and league leaders. Surely a simple 3 points for the home team? Yet it’s never certain which Port will emerge from the metaphorical phone booth come kick off. Supermen or meek Clark Kents? As our own Josimar pointed out in his interview with the Sandpit, against smaller teams often something hasn’t quite clicked like it does when facing a gang of oddballs in ugly costumes and vague animal links (beetles, lizards etc.), funded by megalomaniacs with designs on world domination (I like to think such characters run each and every Thai club). Our boys march into their evil den, give them a lead before firing off 3 goals and victory in the name of truth, justice and the Khlong Toei way.
While Port won the Bangkok el khlas iik-o, Super Power were playing in the “surely this can’t still be Bangkok” derby in front of only slightly larger crowd, as 722 people saw them go down to Thai Honda by a single goal, scored by the Bane of Port that infamous night in Ladrabang: Rafinha. In a scrappy game on a cut up pitch, Super Power in fact were handed a chance to double their points tally and secure an injury time equalizer via a penalty for handball, but Komenan’s spot kick was nowhere near the corner and became a routine save with keeper Natchanon Jothavon guessing the right way.
The season as whole has been a slog for Super Power and holy defence statman the numbers don’t look good for them. Their sole point came in round two from a somewhat unexpected source as they held Bangkok Glass to a 0-0 draw. Since when things have Gotham bad to worse with 13 straight defeats.
So, there really aren’t a lot of high points to point out or variations on ‘turned up and lost,’ sadly. All season they’ve scored just 10 goals and conceded at an average of over 3 a game (46 in all). Away is slightly worse (having played 8), scoring an average of a goal every other game and conceding an average of 3.25 (26 in total). Only once have they scored more than 1 goal in a game, which occurred when they bagged 2 v Bangkok United, however they were already 5-0 down when they started their mini fight back. The only teams they’ve managed to stop scoring twice were fellow basement dwellers Sisaket and Thai Honda who have recently moved out of the relegation zone thanks to back to back wins over Muanthong and the 1-0 win mentioned above. So, things look tough for the team from the SAT stadium, such that even manager Jason Withe told the Sandpit a result on Sunday would count as a surprise.
Players to Watch
Korean defender/midfielder Lee Keon Pil (33) had played every game until recently but a red card and suspension for massing 5 over yellows have seen him miss 2 matches. Expect to see him back in the team and charged with trying to stop Suárez.
At the back Withe has taken to pairing Thai Tanapol Udomlap (99) with Bulgarian Lyuben Nikolov (5) a product of Levski Sofia who came to Thailand 3 years ago via Belarus. He started his time in the Land of smiles with Sisaket, making it into the Thai league’s top 11 transfers of 2015 in his first season. The only time they’ve not started recently was when Nikolov was serving a suspension for a red card and can expect to have their work cut out handling Josimar.
Up front they have one of those enigmas you find in Thai football in the Namibian Sadney Urikhob (10), who arrived into Thai football with Saraburi scored 3 great goals almost immediately, one of which was in a 2-2 draw with Port (Ed – I remember that vividly, he was electric!) and another the only goal in a 1-0 win away to Suphanburi. Come the end of the season Port were relegated with 33 points while Saraburi stayed up on 35 only then to resign from the league and fold. How different it could have been for Port without Sadney’s goals. Last season he moved on to Super Power scoring 10 goals in 22 games. This season has been much more of an in and out affair (with more out recently) and his only goal came back in February, in the form of a last minute consolation away to Sukhothai with the score 5-0 to the home team but if decides to be the player of 2015 he could cause a few problems at the back.
However, the more regular start up front is Ivorian Anthony Moura Komenan (11), who has been with Super Power in their various guises and bases since 2012. A man who received a standing ovation whilst on trial at Huddersfield for his performance in a reserve game, however despite some glowing comments from then manager Lee Clark the move to Yorkshire never materialized and Komenan return to France for a few years before heading to Thailand. Not much of a big scary foreign striker, he’s a mixed bag of tricks and pace. Who hopefully isn’t inspired to inflict revenge for that penalty miss and can be handled by mister fantastic and rest of the fantastic four (the barrel is being scraped for a super hero pun).
Christmas Sompen (3) sadly wasn’t born on the 25th of December and has been limited to just 3 appearances this season but if nothing else he has a wonderful name.
Port Line up
It appears that unless any vocal cords went down strained or hands broken banging on the walls at the Lego Stadium post match, Professor Jadet Xavier has a full rota of Xmen to pick from. Wishful thinking has him going all out attack with a partner for Josimar but realistically he’ll probably go with his standard 4-5-1.
The match will be shown live on True Sport 2 at 19:00 on Sunday 20 May, 2017