Sunday 1st October League Cup last 16
Kick off 6.00 p.m. shown live on True Sports HD 1 and True Sports 6
Air Force vs Thai Port, it’s Lions vs Eagles in a match up which always sees Andy Griffin a bit torn about who to support.
Port jet off to Thupatemi Stadium this Sunday. The dark blue side of the Force are flying high in T2, but have stalled a bit lately, so Port have every chance to make it into the quarter finals.
Air Force’s Form
After an average start to the 2017 season Air Force went on an 11 game winning streak. A recent loss to Chainat and two away draws in the league have halted their rapid ascent into the top flight of Thai Football. The second of their away draws saw them splutter into promotion. Their resident RAFa Benitez is Port’s very own former ace Sasom Pobprasert who led Port to the FA Cup 2009 and the League Cup 2010. Yes, there were ancient days of yaw when Port won things. He’s had a good 3 year run with Air Force, landing them in 9th and 4th along with promotion this year.
Players to Watch or Make Weak Puns About
“Valdomiro Soares Eggres” “Valdo” (33) was Air Force’s top goal scorer with 12 last year and is currently second best with 10 this year. Let’s hope he’s not the one who Soars on Sunday and it’s Air force who Egress out of the Cup.
So who is Air Force’s danger man? Who’s the player we will all have to look out for? Step forward 2017’s 12 goal hero… Kayne Vincent (11)… Wait, what ? I’ve checked it a few times, then I checked my glasses. Yes, it’s true! Our old friend Kayne has hit the target for Air Force twelve times in 2017. Let’s just say this is the least Scary Foreign Striker of any Sandpit preview to date. Maybe he’s found some form and is on the up, but either way he’s as scary as Hello Kitty holding a butter knife.
Air Force are a solid crew normally winning games by the odd goal. They have only lost once at home this year and that was to the T2 Champions elect Chainat. They will be confident as they roll out on to the pitch this Sunday. In two online articles Sasom had mentioned playing a younger squad in the cups, but with promotion now sorted I can’t see him doing that.
Jadet: Magician or Monster? Top Gun or Top Yourself ?
From the heady heights of winning 5-2 away to the 5-1 crash and burn that was Wednesday night. What can we make of “Sir Det”? Better teams than Port have been obliterated by the bombarding attacks of Bangkok United. It’s not time to abandon the 4-1-4-1 formation that gave us great win away (a win away, a win away, ooooh aaa win awaaaaay). I think managers get too much praise when they win, and too much criticism when they lose. Jadet’s trying something a little different with the team and against mid-range opposition it worked well. I think he should stick with it.
Panpanpong wasn’t available on Wednesday as he’s on loan from Bangkok United. I’m not a big fan of his wandering up front recklessly, but if we start with Rochela (22) Dolah (4) and Todsapol (6) he can get up the pitch without leaving too many gaping holes at the back.
Jetjin (51) might get a chance to jump start his Port career, but it’s unlikely. He will probably just be good for another idle pun in the preview. If we are desperate for goals it would be good to see Tana (99) brought on as a feckless goal hanger rather than a left winger. He’s definitely more suited to that role and as he seems to be contractually guaranteed to get time on the pitch, better have him doing that. I’m tired of seeing him wander aimlessly as a cloud on for Genki (18), even when Genki’s doing a perfectly good job on the left. Let’s hope Genki can zero in on the target like he did on Wednesday and justify a full 90 minutes. If Worawut (36-24-36) doesn’t flap about too much we should be OK at the back.
I think Jadet will stick to the formation that blew away Pattaya United. Here it’s 5-4-1 as Rochela is the very defensive midfielder the formation sometimes looks like that. And Eurosport’s Best XI doesn’t have a 4-1-4-1 option. 4-1-4-1 does sound more like a chant than a team formation.
I rarely spot any great match up over and above our striker v their central defender or vice versa, Josimat (30) v Aleksandar Kapisoda (5) should be a good clash.
But Sunday has fascinating yellow card specialist match up. They won’t be facing each other that much as they are both attacking midfielders, but I get the feeling they will spot each other and a dog fight will ensue. Noppon Polkum (7) (or just “poll cum” to his friends) has managed to rack up 12 yellow cards and will serve his Siwakornesque 3rd suspension for Air Force during the next league game. I expect Siwakorn will get a yellow for shooting him down in the first half, then Noppon will come back with two yellows in the second and will be promptly ejected. Siwakorn’s calmed down a bit now, and he has a mere 10 yellows in the league this season; most of them tactical strikes to bring down dangerous attacking players. So expect some surprise attacks on both sides in the middle of the pitch if the game is close. Remember, always come out of the sun, they never see you till it’s too late.
This fixture saw highs and lows in 2013, with anger following a tense away loss. Then a momentous late winner to secure promotion on the last day of the season. Last year there was an epic away battle that saw Port go up 1-0, then down 2-1, only to pull it back to win 3-2, this was followed by a close fought 2-0 home win for Port. Whatever happens Sunday it should be a riveting match, both sides are pretty much settled in the league looking to launch a cup run.
My Prediction: 6-4 Away Win
With 13 goals in the last 2 games it could happen. I see Dolah and Nitipong (34) conspiring to give away four first half penalties between them, then Rochela and Josi both getting second half hat-tricks to air lift Port out of trouble.
The Stadium is just past Don Muang Airport, for anyone taxiing to the ground here’s a link to the ground on google maps. Thupatemi Stadium
The Away end is Zone C unfortunately it’s another running track stadium but we should be able to fill it out and make some noise. It’s 120 baht for away fans.
The League Cup Last 16
There are some decent ties to look out for this Sunday. Here’s the full line up for the last 16, which is the 2nd round. There are 3 stages of qualifying rounds before that, but they don’t count. It’s simple it’s the 2nd round and after that it’ll be the quarter finals or the 3rd round if you like.
See you Sunday.