Angels and Alcohol: Bangkok United vs. Port FC, FA Cup Round of 16

 

Port face the former, and traveling fans will most certainly be in need of the latter.

Port can’t be said to have had the luck of the draw in the FA Cup this year. Getting Bangkok United away is about as tough as it gets, although after Sunday’s five goal romp in Pattaya Port finally look to be regaining their confidence. The first half of the season under new-old manager Jadet saw Port score some stunning upset victories away from home at Muangthong and Chiang Rai, so with team spirit once again lifted following the departure of Zico Bangkok United will have to be wary of a re-invigorated Port.

 

Bangkok United

Players to Watch

 

With this being a cup game, it’s very hard to know who Mano Polking will pick against Port. United will certainly need a strong team – Port are not expected to be push-overs – but he will probably not employ all of the resources at his disposal. I have had a look at the team Mano picked on the weekend against Super Power, and am choosing my Players to Watch based on those who didn’t feature in that 4-0 win.

After getting a rest on the weekend, Teeratep Winothai (14) looks set to replace top goalscorer Dragan Boskovic (7) in the forward line against Port. No surprise really, considering that Teeratep, widely known as Leesaw, banged in 4 goals last time Port visited Thammasat Stadium, and was still popular enough among the traveling support to take selfies with the entire away stand. Cheeky beggar. Leesaw isn’t quite in his prime anymore, but Mano has the former national team superstar working harder than ever, and making an excellent all-round contribution. He’s notched up 8 goals and 4 assists too, which is pretty tidy for a player who has spent as much time on the bench as on the pitch.

Bangkok United’s captain Sanrawat Dechmitr (29) is one of the classiest Thai footballers in the game. He plays between midfield and attack, and has supplied much of the ammunition – 13 assists if you’re counting – that Boskovic (7) has used to fire himself to the top of the goalscoring charts this season. He is at the heart of Bangkok’s cultured attacking style, as Port fans may remember after he helped himself to an assist in both of their league encounters in 2017. If Port are lucky, the man who he shares the creative burden with – Mario Gjurovski (20) – could well be given a rest after starting against Super Power on Saturday. Nevertheless, Sanrawat is more than enough to deal with on his own.

 

Teeratep and Sanrawat

 

Never try to say Anthony Ampaipitakwong’s (6) name after you’ve had a couple of beers. This Thai-American holding midfielder made his name in the MLS for the San Jose Earthquakes, before moving to Buriram and then Bangkok United. He doesn’t do anything fancy – seriously, he doesn’t have a goal or an assist to his name in 2017 – but does a disciplined job in front of the back 4 and has a good range of passing. His willingness to do the hard yards, stay disciplined (just 1 yellow card this season) and play the simple passes makes him a rare and valuable commodity in Thai football.

Do try to say this Thai-German’s name after you’ve had a couple of beers. With any luck, you’ll get a top-up! Manuel Bihr (40) is a Thai-German central defender who played in the second and third tier of German football before being signed by Bangkok United in 2016. He struggled for game-time in 2016, but has earned the right to partner Yohan Tavares (32) with some solid displays in 2017.

 

Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Manuel Bihr

 

Form

 

Bangkok enjoyed a stonking run of 8 consecutive wins from the start of the second leg of the season, but a shock 1-0 defeat to Pattaya United put a dent in their top-2 ambitions, before a crushing 4-0 loss to Muangthong effectively wrote them off. Bangkok United now have 6 points to make up on second place Muangthong, but they also enjoy a 7 point cushion over Chiang Rai who are in fourth. Bangkok will still likely continue to focus their efforts in the league, where another Muangthong collapse is not beyond the realms of possibility, and staying above Chiang Rai in the table to secure the coveted play-off spot for the Asian Champions League is also of paramount importance to the ambitious Angels.

 

Port FC

Starting XI

 

Last week’s hero with his sensational dead-ball deliveries, Panpanpong (19), is unavailable for selection against his parent club, but right back Nitipong (34) returns after his league suspension, which is handy as his understudy Meechok (20) is a doubt after getting the shit kicked out of him for 80 minutes by Pattaya. Pravinwat (55) is suspended after picking up yellow cards in the previous two rounds, and Pakorn (9) is out of action for a month with the injury he picked up against Chonburi.

It seems likely that Jadet will continue with the 4-1-4-1 shape that served Port so well against Pattaya, which will mean Rochela (22) continuing in defensive midfield and Todsapol (6) replacing him in the back line. Todsapol made his long overdue return to action with a man of the match display last weekend, where he was magnificent in both defence and attack, and should once again partner Dolah (4), who was unfortunate to give away two penalties against Pattaya’s crafty Serbs. He deserves his share of the blame for having a handful of Stojanovic’s shirt, although that infringement was outside the area, but there was nothing he could done about Jevtic, who was intent on throwing himself to the ground regardless of what was going on around him. At full back, Yossawat (28) should replace Panpanpong on the left, whilst Nitipong (34) should return in place of Meechok on the right.

In front of Rochela will be Siwakorn (16) and Suarez (5), and out wide will be Genki (18) and possibly Tana (99) again. Alternatively, Ekkapoom (8), Jetjinn (51) or Narakorn (29) could be picked in place of the warbling winger, whilst if Meechok is passed fit, he could play at right back with Nitipong on the wing. Up top will be back-in-form Josimar (30), who has bagged 3 goals in his last 2 games, and is once again looking dangerous in front of goal.

 

Predicted Lineup

 

This is not quite the formation I wanted, but unfortunately Eurosport’s otherwise excellent Best XI lineup generator doesn’t offer the 4-1-4-1 formation that Jadet used on Sunday. Just imagine Rochela playing a bit deeper than Siwakorn.

 

 

The match will be shown live on True4U at 19:00 on Wednesday 27 September, 2017. For those who can’t make it to Thammasat Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will be showing the match on a big screen with sound.

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

Having moved to Thailand aged 10, Tom has been playing or watching football in Thailand for more than 18 years. A keen follower of the Thai National Team and an avid fan of Port FC, he is a regular contributor to The Sandpit.

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