Port will face Muangthong in the Coke Cup Bangkok Regional Final at SCG Stadium. Unfortunately it has been confirmed today that fans will not be allowed to watch. Spoilsports!
Many have quite rightly been bemoaning the bizarre suspension of T1 action during the under-22 SEA Games, but Thailand’s academy teams have been making the most of the break in the 2017 Coke Cup. The 10-team regional tournament features the best academy teams from in and around Bangkok, with the participants this year being hosts SCG Muangthong, Air Force, Bangkok FC, Port FC, Bangkok Christian College, Bangkok United, Super Power, Thai Honda, Bangkok Glass and Army United.
Groups A and B featured three teams, from which only the winner would advance to the semi-finals, while Group C featured four teams, from which two teams would advance. Port were drawn in what looked like a tough group B with Bangkok United and Bangkok Christian College, who are renowned around the country for their youth setup. Port started off their tournament with a solid 2-0 win against Bangkok United, with our lanky left-winger Partchya (27), midfield hard-man Polkrit (11) and goalkeeper Jedsadakorn (23) all looking impressive.
A one-goal defeat to BCC followed, but Port were lucky enough to qualify by virtue of their +1 goal difference, with all three teams tied on three points. Port advanced to the semi-finals, where they were probably lucky to draw Group C runners-up Thai Honda. Port put in another impressive display, defeating Honda 2-0 largely thanks to left-winger Partchya (27), who showed that he has the end product to go with the tricks and flicks. His through-ball sent diminutive forward Chanayut (10) through to score the first, and he capped a match-winning performance by curling in a peach of a goal from outside the area which the goalkeeper could only marvel at.
The other semi-final saw Muangthong take on the surprise package of the tournament, Super Power, who have apparently invested more in their academy than they have in their first team. They cruised through group C garnering 6 points – 5 more than their first team has managed in T1 so far this season – but found hosts Muangthong one test too many, succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at SCG Stadium.
With three wins out of three and a goal difference of +7, Muangthong will be confident of winning on home soil, but Port’s youngsters could be inspired by the performance of their senior side, who defied the odds to shock their bitter rivals 3-2 at the SCG. The winners will advance to the final round of the Coke Cup, which will see the eight regional champions slog it out for national glory. Port will already be happy to have made it as far as they have, but with the prospect of a victory against rivals Muangthong and a place in the national tournament at steak, anything less than victory will be a bitter disappointment for Port’s Young Lions.