Terens Puhiri: Flash in the PAT

 

Indonesian sensation Terens Puhiri, nicknamed The Flash, has been impossible to ignore since his arrival at Port. Whether it’s his miniscule frame, his enormous fan base or his searing pace, Terens has been one of Port’s most-talked-about new arrivals, despite the fact that his Port career to date has consisted of two injury time substitutions and zero touches of the ball. It helps, no doubt, that he is the sort of guy who, rather than taking the quiet route out of PAT Stadium, will happily walk out of the front door, even if that means thirty minutes of selfies with the fans. It also helps that he achieved global fame in late 2017, with an incredible goal going viral and drawing comparisons with some of the fastest footballers in the world.

In our deep dive in to Terens’ career though, we’re going to look past the grinning Instagrams and viral videos to see how the man from the semi-autonomous region of Papua made it from Jayapura to Khlongtoey.

 


 

His story starts in Papua, the largest province in Indonesia, where Terens was born in 1996. An area rife with conflict between indigenous peoples and the Indonesian Government, its’ native Papuans are ethnically, linguistically and religiously distinct from most of their countrymen. Often with darker skin, curly hair, speaking any one of hundreds of distinct languages and more likely to practice Christianity than Islam, Papuans – despite their incredible diversity – have a distinct identity which is a source of pride for many.

In football terms, two of Papuas favourite sons are Terens and the man he is often likened to, Boaz Solossa. Solossa is a hero in his home province, having scored a remarkable 163 goals in 247 games for local side Persipura Jayapura, as well as 14 goals in 47 games for the Indonesian national team.

 

 

When a 10 year old Papuan, one of three siblings to a single mother who worked as a housekeeper, started collecting and selling aluminium cans to raise the money to buy his first football, who would have thought he would one day go on to rival his hero for fame both at home and abroad? Terens would play football nearly every day after school with his friends, and after some practice he was convinced enough of his own ability to go on trial at SSB Numbay Star Papua. At just 10 years old and approximately knee high to a grasshopper, Terens was rejected for being too small, but his resolve was only strengthened and he came back again the next year, when he was finally accepted in to the academy.

 

 

Just one year on, at 12 years old, Terens – playing at that time as a striker – top-scored in the 2008 Danone League, and within another two years he was selected for the Indonesia u16 team, where he was moved on to the wing. Terens would go on to visit Thailand and Myanmar in various international youth tournaments, while SSB Numbay Star Papua were helping put the youngster through high school. He would water plants, clean the yard and help wherever he could to earn his keep.

 

 

In another 3 years, Terens had finally achieved his dream and had been picked up by a professional outfit. The team was Persisam Putra Samarinda in East Borneo, and at just 17 years of age Terens was put in their u21 team. In his second year with the club, though, Persisam collapsed and were moved to Bali. Most fans of the now disbanded Persisam would not go on to support the rebranded Bali United, but would instead switch allegiance to the more local Borneo FC, who had been founded the year before. Terens followed suit, signing a 5 year contract with Borneo FC, for whom he would soon become a first team regular.

 

 

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of data available from his time with Borneo FC, as Transfermarkt Indonesian statistics are only available from 2017 onwards, but what little I have looks very useful indeed. Terens notched 6 goals and 10 assists in 31 games as his team went on to finish eighth in Liga 1.

What’s even more pleasantly surprising than Terens’ excellent return in 2017 is his apparent versatility. The first four games of 2017 saw him start in four different positions across the attack, and Terens even started once in central midfield, scoring a goal and providing two assists as his team ran out 3-2 winners. His best work seems to come from the right hand side though, which is where he will likely be playing for Port.

 

 

Indeed, the viral video which catapulted Terens to worldwide recognition saw him starting on the right wing, giving up an enormous headstart to an opposition defender but somehow beating him to the ball, before rounding the keeper at breakneck pace and slotting in to an empty net.

 

 

Then there is this excellent highlights package of his goals, assists and skills in 2017, which shows that he’s more than just a speed-merchant. Terens is no Pakorn, but he’s got a pretty useful right foot, delivering some quality crosses from the by-line, which make up quite a few of his 10 assists. Perhaps the most striking part of his game is how difficult he makes life for defenders, though. Terens is tireless, constantly nibbling away at his opposition full-backs, not giving them a moment on the ball and on a few occasions picking their pockets and creating a scoring chance.

This is the part of his game that Port will be most interested in, too, as Terens is set to play the role of impact sub in 2018. Unfortunately for those Indonesians following Port to keep up with Terens’ progress, as promising as he is, he’s not going to be starting many games for Port this season as long as Pakorn, Nurul and Bodin are fit. All three possess qualities which Terens is just not yet able to match, so he will have to wait for his chances from the bench or in cup competitions and try to impress as much as possible when he does get a run-out.

 


 

I must admit to having had my doubts about Terens, thinking that he was probably a bit of a one trick pony, but having learned more about the 21 year old Papuan sensation, I’m more enthused by The Flash than ever before! A hard worker, a crowd favourite and the best thing to come out of Indonesia since the Balinese Goddess of Plenty, here’s hoping that Port give Terens a chance to prove that he’s more than just a Youtube sensation. Looking at all the obstacles he’s overcome to get to where he is today, I certainly wouldn’t bet against him!

 

Three is the Magic Number: Port FC 3-2 Ratchaburi FC

 

Saturday 24th February saw Port in a strange scenario. What’s the scenario? Top of the league and two wins from two games. We all know two games into a season you can’t tell that much about a team, but more important than the two wins has been the style of the victories. Port have fought and looked good in both matches. PAT all too often a field of screams is turning into some sort of Klong Toei gangsta’s paradise for Jadet’s geto boys.

The immediate pre-match talk was about the absence of Kim Sung Hwan (8). When I heard the news, I was definitely thinking oh shit I’ll be missing you, and our midfield will be missing you too. Against Muangthong, Kim showed he can marshal the midfield and give Siwakorn (16) the freedom to distribute the ball and sett up Port’s attacking moves like a grandmaster of Chessboxin’. So the team news saw Port’s first knock back of the day. Fitting on a day that was to see Port switch from Jim’s high enthusiasm to Hockers’ high anxiety every other minute.

I thought we might see a defensive Ratchaburi tie up Port and try a Whodini escape from PAT with a point. So I was shocked by the frenetic pace of the first five minutes. Port were impressive, but Ratchaburi were raising their game as they were out to impress. They were all well aware that their new coach was in the stands and everyone was trying stake a claim for their spot in the team. The first shock came with the first shot from Ratchaburi. It came on 12 seconds with the ball being blasted into a defender. Ratchaburi had come here to play. 25 seconds later Nitipong (34) was scythed down by Satsanapong (35). The ref chose not to go for a yellow and waved away the Port protest delegation. This terrible decision set the tone for the game and saw 10 minutes of players thinking “Well if he’s not going to give a yellow for that, what will he give a yellow for?” Tackles flew in like it was the wild wild west and each player pushed the definition of the phrase ‘shocking yet legitimate tackle’.

Unfortunately the number 1 chief shocka of the first 10 minutes was Suarez (5). After being fouled by Sami (3) he seemed to slap the hand of the referee away. Was Suarez trying to point something out to the referee with his hand and just ended up hitting him by mistake? Or was he saying, I’m gonna knock you out? This could be seen as a mistake, or assault. With this ref no one was sure which way he would go. The only thing to come Suarez’s way was a rebuke and an audible sigh of relief reverberated around me in Zone B. As the game unfolded, most fans would see a gentle slap of the arm as scant punishment for a refereeing performance that could generously be called erratic and honestly be called slapworthy.

On 6 minutes Rosima Amancio (90) who goes by the name of “Bill” showed Port he has a few South American skills, even if his nickname is more South London. An interesting character with moves as smooth and deadly as Bushwick Bill’s rhymes, but in sporting terms his physique was more mid 70’s snooker legend Bill Werbeniuk. His jinking run was desperately blocked by Dolah (4) hitting him high and Rochela (22) hitting him low. The run set off more alarm bells in the Port defence, with some thinking maybe we could just shoot em up. I’m sure the ref would only give a yellow for that today.

Port and Ratchburi both continued creating and missing chances: Boskovic (23) scooped the ball high into Zone D and Ratchaburi hit a shot straight at Worawut (36). Finally about 10 minutes in the number 16 clattered into a player and he went flying into the air. To the surprise of everyone it was the Ratchaburi  number 16 Gionata Verzura that managed to get his name in the book first, with waiflike Siwakorn being the one upended. Role reversal for Siwakorn who has been a lot more careful with his fouling in 2018: Kim is a good influence on him.

Port’s best early chance came on ’13 with a Pakorn (7) free kick drifted in to Suarez (5). He trapped and turned sweetly to beat the keeper, but not the post. 3 minutes later Pakorn would hit the woodwork again with a trademark inswinging corner that swung too much too soon.

Hitting back, Philip Roller (33) drew a spectacularly exaggerated, yet still needed save from Worawut. The following corner was put over the bar and another shot from a corner was blasted wide of Port’s goal soon after. Port might rue their chances going astray, but they could be equally happy Ratchaburi were squandering their chances too. The attacking right back vs. attacking left back, Kevin (97) vs Roller, was a one of the mini battles going on all over the pitch that made this game so fascinating, the two young players sniping at each other for 90 minutes.

The game saw another one-two punch of missed chances with Menezes (20) putting the ball over the bar and Boskovic having a one on one with the keeper. He tried to drill it in, but only found the keeper’s outstretched leg. Next it was the ever industrious Nurul (31) having a go. Rather than the keeper Nurul managed to hit Siwakorn’s head and the crowd wondered how on earth this game was still 0-0.

On ’35 Kang Soo-il (10) went for a theatrical dive trying to get hardworking Adisorn (13) booked. When a yellow card didn’t come he cupped his ear and asked Zone C for a bit more noise. I’m sure Kang grew sick of the constant booing that followed him around for the next hour. You asked for it Kang, so you got.

Two more Port free kicks resulted in nothing and it felt like this half didn’t want a goal. Then an exquisite move saw Bill (90) tap the ball with the outside of his boot, dissecting 3 Port defenders on the edge of the box. Then a sweet back heel from Chuitpol (7) to cue up Pathomchai (31), and he slotted it into the bottom corner past Worawut. At least it was a great goal that spoiled Port’s 220-minute clean sheet.

Speaking of exquisite goals, after a ricocheting free kick fell to Chutipol (7) I’m sure he thought all was well with the world, and he would just hoof the ball away. Not so when you have Ninja Nurul next to you. Nurul picked Chutipol’s left pocket and tapped him on the right shoulder, and before Chutipol knew which way to turn Nurul was guiding that ball into the far corner. As the keeper fell to the ground Nurul was completing his celebration somersault, handing out notes to novice ninjas, stamping fans tickets as they left for half time and posting Ask Nurul Ninja videos on Youtube. This little man can do everything. It’s great to see Nurul putting in an early claim for goal of the season. And it’s no more than he deserves. Nurul works his arse off, somehow channeling the spirit of Genki’s work ethic and Saruta’s ball skills and then sprinkling in some ancient Ninja magic. He is the Nine Carat Gold Ninja – is that a thing? I don’t know. If it isn’t it should be.

For readers who would like to make their own “Nine Karat Gold Ninja” flick book we have provided pictures.

 

 

1-1 at half time, and everyone walked out thanking god for Nine Carat Gold Ninjas. Everyone also knew Port and Ratchaburi were going to come out looking for more goals in the second. The second half started with Ratchaburi trying to take back the initiative with a few chances.

 

The Shook Ones Part II

The Kevin vs. Roller battle that had been raging all day was set off again by a good quick throw in from Pakorn down the left wing. Roller tussled with Kevin hacking at his ankles and pulling his shirt. Kevin held him off, then strong-armed him just enough to give himself some room. He fed the ball through Roller’s legs onto Suarez running in at the near post. Suarez thumped the ball in. On a day when players needed to stamp their authority on their part of the turf Kevin and Suarez delivered the perfect counter punch to their opposite numbers. Port up 2-1 and Roller left scratching his head as to how to stop a player who doesn’t fall down at any given opportunity. Kevin stood up and looked Roller square in the eyes and said “it’s my turn, I demand my respect, Give me my burn, or get slammed in your neck” (yes, he definitely said that, I heard it).

Before the next corner with Chutipol receiving treatment, Suarez wandered over to drink some of the water by Ratchaburi’s goal. He picked up two bottles, one for himself and one to throw into Zone B. It’s often small things that turn a crowd for or against a player. Kang Soo-il (10) had cupped his ear and was still getting boos every time he touched the ball. With Suarez’s gesture he managed to deprive Ratchaburi of some water, and give the crowd a laugh and one kid a souvenir of the game.

 

 

As more space opened up for Pakorn on the right Suarez picked him out twice with brilliant cross-field passes. One move did create a chance for Nurul, with the ball looping up in the air the whole crowd held its breath. Nurul tried an audacious Ninjaesque bicycle kick. Surely he can’t score such a goal? Yes, you’re right he couldn’t – it went wide proving he is a ninja but still human.

 

 

Always a bright sign the crowd saw Bodin (10) warming up on the sidelines. I thought Pakorn was coming off, but it was Suarez who would eventually make way for Bodin. Then Boskovic broke through the midfield and Port had a great chance. Even with two defenders chasing yards behind him and one coming across to meet him I would still have put money on Boskovic shooting and indeed scoring with such a good sight on goal. However Boskovic looked up and played the percentages. He calmly squared it to a wide open Suarez who sided footed it causally in to the back of the net making it 3-1 to Port. Time for everyone, bar Hockers, to relax and breathe a bit easier knowing a two goal cushion was in place.

 

 

As I was explaining to Hockers that a two goal lead with 20 minutes to go was something to be enjoyed with carefree happiness, he explained joy has no place in football ’til the final whistle. As I was mid speech extolling the joys of life, Ratchaburi hit the post, reminding everyone, bar Hockers, this lead could still fall apart. Chances continued coming ten a penny, but fortunately none were going in.

On ’72 Suarez exited to cheers from all zones and even Tim (just polite applause from me – Ed). Bodin entered into the fray with Ratchaburi having another pot shot at the Port goal, and Hockers tutted at the other 7,999 fans who had happily thought this match had been put to bed. Menezes who had created so many chances for Ratchaburi found Kang Soo-il to deliver his own dose of My Medicine to Port. 3-2 and the thought that Port might let a good lead slip away like so many 2017 games reared its ugly head.

At the restart the ref called Captains Sami and Rochela into the centre circle. He made them shake hands to try and foster a bit of peace in a tense game. As they were shaking hands I’m sure they were both shaking their heads too, thinking this game would be a lot more peaceful with a decent ref.

The last ten minutes of the game saw both teams slow down a bit, looking like two prize fighters who had been beating the hell out of each other for 127 rounds. Nurul had a good shout for a penalty on ’86. After re-watching it oddly the ultra-biased Port eyes had it spot on. 100% nailed-on penalty. As Port ran out winners today it will be forgotten pretty quickly, but had Ratchaburi scored a late equaliser this report would have been a 3000 word dissertation on the incident and the sad tale of how Port were robbed of 3 points. It wasn’t, we weren’t. The last minutes saw the Grandmaster Flash himself Terens Puhiri (28) make a two minute appearance. It would be good to see the Flash for the last 10 minutes of a game to see if he can convert his pace into some genuine chances for Port. I hope Jadet gets the message.

At the end of the day it was three that was the magic number for Port: 3 goals tonight, 3 points in the bag again, 3 wins in a row.

Maybe you can subtract it
You can call it your lucky partner
Maybe you can call it your adjective
But odd as it may be
Without my 1 and 2 where would there be my 3

 

Sandpit Man of the Match: Sergio Suarez

My 3 of the night would be Suarez, Nurul and Kevin. Siwakorn also had a great game, the defence held up well against a tough attack. As it’s man of the match not men of the match, I’ll have to go with Suarez. On a day when Port needed battlers he battled and delivered two goals. He also delivered a free bottle of water for Zone B – nice touch.

 

(Just in case you wondered, it’s the Kool Moe Dee’s wild wild west, not the Will Smith version, just so you check yourself before you wreck yourself.)

 

Run Christian, Run! Port FC vs. Ratchaburi, 24 February 2018

 

There is a bible story that talks of a young German Christian (Ziege) manager taking the first steps on his assent to the footballing promised land, who traveled far to the lands east, for a fat bag of gold coins (one suspects) to lead a mythical sugar dragon and is confronted by a league full of strange beasts, disorganisation and interfering megalomaniac owners. In this very strange league lived a mighty lion who once was shabby and downbeat, even taking on at times the form of a horse and a rather camp dolphin but had recently risen to the top of the local footballing mountain. With the help of its sidekicks the dragon, the flash, the grumpy Spaniard, the calm happy Spaniard and 1990’s Will Smith, the lion had set about slaying all who dared to cross its path. The strange footballing land also had a bunny, a bat, a beetle, a horrible lizard, a shark, a not so camp dolphin, and an elephant amongst others. However, it was the mighty Lion that had recently come to be most feared. First it met the dolphin and with three blows the dolphin was slain. Next was its sworn enemy the lizard. The lion had waited a long time for this moment and savoured his victory, he had won victories over the lizard before but they were bruising affair, this was to be a total victory, tearing the helpless lizard limb from limb, even toying with the poor little lizard as the life faded from it on a glorious Saturday, and the howls of the lion’s famous followers did ring around its den, for although the battle did occur at the lizards dwelling, it was a place no wise man was permitted to visit. Some say that with the battle won and the followers of the lizard falling silent, as they realized that the lion had risen and was again undeniably mightier than their lizard, the roars of the lion’s followers could be heard even though the two dens are many miles apart and even if they couldn’t, it’s on YouTube.

The young manager was filled with fear having seen the lion slaughter the lizard and began to question if this really was the place for him. So, with just days to go before his dragons (none of whom were as mighty as the lion’s dragon, who was the mightiest dragon in the kingdom), were due to face the lion in its den, the young manager asked the lord to help him escape the mighty lion and his now ultra-professional sidekicks. “Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.” (Psalms 22.21). (The oxen had been cast out by the other animals for being a bit crap at football and told to spend 40 fixtures and 40 weeks trying to prove itself). The young manger decided to further ponder his position whilst listening to some banging tunes. Luckily being a very modern god, Spotify is the savior’s current go to medium of communication, so the lord did answer the young manager at a crossroads and via shuffle the lord did declare: “dreaming of that perfect home by the sun…Run, Christian run,” for the lord was wise and chose the finest Welsh psychedelic band to have ever walked the earth* to inform the former left back who had traveled as far as Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Milan and some of footballs smaller missionary stations before heading east,  that it was time to high tail it to Suvarnabhumi and see how quickly Lufthansa could get him back to the Fatherland. Thus ends the story of the Christian and the sugar dragon.

Its one of the lesser known bible stories due mainly to having been entirely made up by me in an attempt to make up for having to bin nearly all of the preview I’d finished yesterday. So a series of poor Christian and lions jokes will live forever unused alongside the excellent Captain (playa de las) Americas pun that, given the slim chances of a return to Klong Toey for Asdrubal combining with Super Power making like the son of God at Easter for a game I preview, will never see the light of day in any useful way.

 


 

Or in plain language, Port play Ratchaburi on Saturday at the PAT, 20:00 kick off or if you can’t make it’s on True 4U, True Sport HD2 and various dodgy streams. Ratchaburi had appointed Christan Ziege to be their manager in the close season, however, at some point this week, having already left once, it was decided by the club and/or him that things weren’t working out and his contract with the club was terminated. Oh, and we’re top of the league, having played Muangthong off LEGOLAND Park. We’re also yet to concede a goal this season, and we’re eight games unbeaten in the league including the finish of last season. The last time Jadet took charge of a home defeat was the 6th of May 2017 when Pattaya beat us two nil. So we have nothing to fear. Kinda like being two nil up with ten minutes to go, and we know how that generally turns out for Port!

Ratchaburi

 

Its hard enough to draw any conclusions about teams two games into the season; it’s even harder when they’ve changed manager and when that manager leaves the club, you’re pretty much at a total loss.

 

Christian Ziege

 

Sooooo, Ratchaburi started the season with the least desirable fixture on offer, away at Buriram on a Friday night. Giving a good account of themselves, they kept the scores level ’til the hour mark, before two goals in seven minutes took the points for the champions, despite a consolation penalty scored by Felipe Mendez (20).  Round two saw Air Force Central visit Ratchaburi, again the game was scoreless well into the second half before an own goal was awarded to Chutipol Thongthae (7) for being vaguely nearby when the ball was sent goalward by the Air Force player, securing the win for Ratchaburi.

The Ratchaburi squad underwent somewhat of an overhaul in the closed season as Marcel Essombe moved to Port, who sent him to the BEC Police home for unwanted players and from there he has moved to pastures as yet unknown. Thai national team left back Kevin Deeromram made the same move on deadline day.

They have been replaced by “Bill” (90) a striker from Brazil who has spent the last four years (transferring each season) in the second tier at home, scoring 9, 15, 2 and 10 goals (the 2 occurred while only making 9 appearances). On two occasions he’s been with the champions, only to be moved on without getting the opportunity to play in the top tier. He’s yet to score in the Thai league, but appears to possess a powerful shot. South Korean Soo-il Kang (10) also arrived in the closed season, from Thespakusatsu Gunma who were relegated from the second tier of the Japanese league. A skilled dribbler, he had the most fruitful season of his career last season, scoring 10 goals. Kang too has drawn a blank in his time at Ratchaburi playing on the right, hopefully Deeromram learnt enough in the time they spent together in preseason to keep him in check.

 

Bill and Kang

 

Further attacking options are offered by two half Thai players, Thai-German Phillip Roller (33) who has been used further up the field as a right winger than full back where he started and Thai-Italian Gionata Verzura (16) who arrived from Super Power via Ubon, they’ve started one game each this season. The final foreigner in the group is another Brazilian Felipe Menezes (20) who scored the penalty at Buriram. He will look to exploit the space between Port’s defence and midfield.

 

Roller and Verzura

 

Also arriving was keeper Kittipong (1) on loan for the season from Bangkok United. He was first choice for the Angels last season, but has been moved on in the post cup final shake up. He’ good at getting himself to shots and crosses but somewhat questionable at collecting them. Whilst Pakorn may not enjoy much joy with his shoot on sight policy, others may following up.

The back four has been fairly stable for some time with Wattayuchutikul, (35) who was involved 19 times last season being asked to replace Deeromram at left back. Congolese centre back Joel Sami is captain. He seems a competent foreign leader of a defence, but hopefully we be found wanting against Boskovic and his many helpers.

Port

 

I can see only two spots in the team where a change is possible. Firstly in goal, whilst the decision to make Worawut (36) man of the match last weekend was somewhat of an overstatement of his performance, he was in great form out at LEGOLAND. Combined with a solid performance in the opener, it seems implausible that he’ll be dropped. So even if Rattanai (17) is back to full fitness, I expect his fragile frame will be spending a few more weeks toughening itself up on the bench.

Which brings us to Port’s other man made of biscuits. Todsapol (6) was carried off with what has been reported as a muscle injury, that early in the week was reportedly not serious enough to stop him starting come Saturday or would keep in out for two weeks according to another source midweek.  Dolah (4) came on for the last hour and coped well with all that Herberty and Jaja asked of him. I suspect the weekend comes to soon for Todsapol to start. Thereafter I expect it to be the same team as last week.  Nitipong (34) and Kevin Deeromram (97) have been excellent at the back and equally impressive going forward, Deeromram looked more at ease for a second week of training with the club and enjoyed exploiting the space offered by our out of position right wingers, cutting in. Nitipong (34) thankfully appears to have figured out that defensive side of the game he used to struggle with against all but the weakest of opponents.

 The foreign spine of the team appears to be the real strength of the set up. We know what we get from El Capitan David Rochela (22) and in front of him is Kim Sung Hwan (8), who was superb in the Slum vs. Scum derby, not just with his play but with his organisation. Along with Boskovic (23), these players offer more than just their ability as individual players, as they organise and encourage those around them. The sight of Jadet in discussion with Kim and Deeromram over the tactics board bodes well. We now have players with knowledge and the strength of character to put their thoughts out there mid match.

As noted above Ratchaburi have made it to the hour mark in each of their games this season scoreless. This might be the game when the strength of the Port bench is called to turn the game in our favour late on.

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

*The Super Furry Animals for the heathens amongst the readership

 


 

The match will be shown live on True 4U, True Sport HD2 at 20:00 on Saturday 24 February, 2018. For those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match with sound if you ask them nicely. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount.

 

Sandpit Songs of the Season 2018: Week 3

 

Port take on Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC at the PAT this Saturday. Now what with them hiring German legend Christian Ziege as coach we were looking forward to making lots of Christian/Lions jokes, however in what is surely the least surprising news this season, apart from Todsapol getting injured again, Ziege has buggered off home to the Fatherland after just two games in charge. Do the people behind these decisions give no thought to pun-hungry football websites? Bastards.

Anyway, this week we had to resort to plan B, so what with Ratchaburi’s nickname being The Dragons, here’s a (pretty shit) song about something we will hopefully be seeing just before 10pm on Saturday…

 

 

Kevin Deeromram: Used To Be A Swede Boy

 

Kevin Deeromram will be the focus of my next detailed look in to a Port player. The Thai-Swedish full back joined Port in a shock 40 million baht move from Ratchaburi FC on transfer deadline day. His arrival at Port was such a surprise as all of the rumours suggested he would be joining rivals Muangthong, but by rejecting the SCG and choosing PAT Stadium, Kevin became an instant Port favourite.

The move already looks to be a masterstroke, with Kevin replacing perennial weak link Panpanpong at left back, adding what could be the final piece to Jadet’s jigsaw. In just his second game for Port – against the team he rejected on deadline day – Kevin upstaged his opposite number and national team regular Peerapat Notechaiya, putting in a barnstorming performance in defence and attack, while his opponent capped off a miserable evening with an own goal.

Still just 20 years old, Kevin is showing all the signs that he will go on to have a sterling career at club and international level.

 


 

Kevin hails from Haninge, a suburb of Stockholm, where he was born to a Swedish father and a Thai mother in 1997. His football career began with Djurgardens IF, whose youth setup Kevin joined in 2011. By 2014, 16 year old Kevin had impressed enough to get his first international call-up, representing Sweden at u17 level under the tutelage of Roland Nilsson, a former Coventry player and manager.

 

 

Kevin scored twice and notched 5 assists for Djurgardens u21s in 2014, and while I was looking at his stats I noticed that he had crossed paths with compatriot and former Port player Niran Hansson. Kevin recorded an assist as Djurgardens defeated IF Brommapojkarna 2-1, with Hansson being subbed off at half time.

 

 

Kevin was playing almost all of his games at left back, with the occasional appearance on the left wing, and continued to chalk up impressive numbers in 2015, scoring a further 3 goals.

In February, Djurgardens opted to extend 17 year old Kevin’s contract for a further two years, but send him on loan to Werder Bremen II with the aim of getting him some more competitive experience. Kevin played a bit-part role for the German side, making 9 appearances and scoring one goal as Werder Bremen went on to clinch the Regionalliga Nord.

 

Kevin playing for Werder Bremen II

 

Djurgardens opted not to extend Kevin’s loan in Germany, instead sending him to Swedish second tier team Åtvidabergs FF in 2016. Academy director Tommy Davidsson explained: “Playing on loan for another team is nothing new to Kevin, who was loaned to Werder Bremen in the fall of 2015. There was very tough competition, and for a young player it is extremely important to play matches which makes Åtvidabergs a good starting point.”

 

Kevin playing for Åtvidabergs

 

Kevin was also continuing his development with the Swedish national team, who promoted him to the u19s, for whom he would go on to play 6 games. It was at club level that Kevin really got going though, playing 25 games for Åtvidabergs in 2016 and getting six assists as his club went on to finish sixth in the Swedish second tier.

Kevin was apparently garnering the attentions of a few different clubs as his contract with Djurgardens came to an end, but despite numerous contract offers in Sweden he chose his mother’s homeland and Ratchaburi FC to be his next stepping stone. Kevin signed a one year contract with an option to extend a further three years. Thankfully, he arrived too late to face Port in their opening day clash, which ended in a 1-1 draw, but the rest of the league weren’t so fortunate. Kevin scored a goal and racked up an impressive eight assists, convincing new Thailand manager Milovan Rajevac to include him in his first squad.

 

Keving playing for Thailand

 

Kevin went on to play 61 minutes in a team of fringe players including fellow Port newbies Nurul and Bodin, and although they slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Uzbekistan, both goals came after Kevin had already been subbed off.

 

 

Kevin’s final game of 2017 would be Ratchaburi’s 3-2 defeat to Port, although with both teams in mid-table the game was effectively a dead rubber. Presumably at about this time Kevin agreed to extend his contract by a further three years with Ratchaburi, because I find it hard to believe that even Port are mental enough to spend 40 million baht on a player who is out of contract.

 

Kevin playing for Ratchaburi

 

We don’t know exactly what happened on deadline day between Kevin, Port and Muangthong but what we do know is that one of Thailand’s most promising youngsters has been signed on a 4 year deal on a salary of 400,000 baht/month. If his career path to date and his performance against Muangthong are anything to go by, Port should have done a good bit of business!

 


 

Finally, for those wondering what to expect from Kevin in terms of his playing style, we turn to his interview with Fox Sports.

I see myself as a wingback and I like to be very offensive. My defence is not the best, more in the offence and I always like to be involved and make assists.”

 

Kevin playing for Port

 

Here’s to Kevin doing just that in Port colours for many years to come!

 

The Portlist 3: Ranking The Heroes

 

Port’s perfect start to the 2018 season, featuring a 3-0 victory against Pattaya and a stunning 2-0 away victory against fierce rivals Muangthong, has seen one player gain 6 places in the Portlist. Port B also got off to a winning start, overcoming Dome FC 3-1, meaning a few of their key players make their Portlist debuts.

 


 

1 (1) Dragan Boskovic

Coming with such a hefty price tag, Boskovic went in to his competitive Port debut with a point to prove. One cheeky nutmeg and a stunning top-corner finish later, point proven. Dragan had a bit of a tougher time against Muangthong, but although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, his hard work led to opportunities for his teammates. So far so good for the 50 million baht man.

2 (3) Kim Sung Hwan

Kim had to wait a little longer for his debut, but when the time came the Korean showed just what he can bring to this team. Just as valuable as Kim’s own considerable abilities on the ball are what he does off the ball, directing proceedings in the middle of the park and demanding the best out of his teammates.

3 (2) David Rochela

Yes, it’s a bit mental that after 2 clean sheets and 2 superb performances Rochela has slipped a place in the Portlist. Besides his rather tame penalty against Pattaya he certainly hasn’t done much wrong, but if credit is going to be given for Port’s improved defensive performances, I’m more inclined to give it to the newer arrivals, who seem to have upped the ante and inspired the older heads to raise their game.

4 (4) Sergio Suarez

He played well against Pattaya, not so well against Muangthong, but most importantly he scored against both. With defenses focusing more of their energy on keeping Boskovic quiet, Suarez is taking full advantage by popping up unmarked in the box and scoring simple goals. Long may it continue!

5 (5) Pakorn Prempak

Pakorn was upstaged a little by Nurul on the opening day, but he held on to his spot on the right wing. The Midfield Monk then more than vindicated Jadet’s faith with a superb performance against Muangthong. An assist for the first goal and several dangerous raids forward indicate that Pakorn’s superb form has carried through to 2018.

6 (6) Siwakorn Jakkuprasart

Two games and two feisty, effective performances from Siwakorn in the middle of the park. Still up there as one of Port’s most important players.

7 (9) Kevin Deeromram

Kevin must get a sizable chunk of the credit for Port’s improved defensive displays, but it was his raids down the left wing that really caught the eye against Muangthong. With right-footed Nurul often opting to drift inside, Kevin has been hugging the touchline and finding plenty of space from which to deliver dangerous balls in to the box.

8 (8) Nitipong Selanon

I’m the one who writes this list, and I’m still not sure why Nitipong is only at number eight. He put in another couple of solid displays and provided a composed assist for Port’s second goal against Muangthong.

9 (7) Nurul Sriyankem

Nurul was outstanding against Pattaya when given a chance on the right hand side, but he hasn’t really taken to his new role on the left. He struggled to get in to the game against Muangthong, and his final ball was found wanting on numerous occasions. Given time Nurul will surely shine, but he’s slipping a couple of places on the Portlist for now.

10 (16) Worawut Srisupha

The big climber on the Portlist after a penalty save against Pattaya and an official Man of the Match award against Muangthong. If Worawut continues to stop everything that comes his way ans the defence start to feel comfortable with him dealing with crosses then Rattanai could find himself spending a lot of time on the bench. What an improvement!

11 (11) Todsapol Lated

Todsapol’s performances probably merit a higher placing than number 11, but his injury on Saturday reminded us how fragile he is. Fortunately his injury is not serious, and he is apparently in contention to start against Ratchaburi next week.

12 (12) Bodin Phala

Bodin may not have started a game yet, but his performance off the bench against Pattaya put him firmly in contention for starts in the future. Also, apparently the lad can take a free kick…

13 (15) Elias Dolah

Called on to replace the injured Todsapol against Muangthong, Dolah didn’t put in a mistake-free performance but he did enough to keep the extremely dangerous Jaja quiet in a tough physical contest. That’s what he’s there for.

14 (13) Adisorn Daeng-rueng

Against Pattaya, Adisorn showed why he is still a good option in defensive midfield with a typically high-energy, combative performance. He may not challenge Kim for his place, but he will prove useful this season, as he showed by coming off the bench to shore up the midfield against Muangthong.

15 (10) Rattanai Songsangchan

Despite returning to fitness and getting a place on the bench for the first time against Muangthong, Worawut’s performances must have made him undroppable for now.

16 (14) Arthit Butjinda

Played a few minutes against Pattaya but was not called on against Muangthong.

17 (17) Terens Puhiri

Came on against Pattaya but didn’t get a touch of the ball. Flash must wait patiently, and take his chance when it comes.

18 (18) Meechok Marhasarunukun

With Nitipong performing so consistently, Meechok is a distant second choice at right back.

19 (19) Panpanpong Pinkong

As is Panpanpong at left back.

20 (21) Athibordee Atirat

Athibordee has made it on to the new nine man bench for both of the opening games. Just.

21 (20) Worawut Namvech

The young centre back got a place on the bench against Pattaya but was in the stands against Muangthong.

22 (22) Pummared Kladkleep

Very much a squad player this season, although he is probably only one injury from the bench.

23 (23) Chakrit Rawanprakone

As is Chakrit.

24 (24) Jetjinn Sriprach

And Jetjinn.

25 (25) Watchara Buathong

And Watchara.

26 (NE) Chaowala Sriarwut

Announced his arrival at Port B with a brace and an assist from midfield against Dome FC. One of the goals was a peach as well! On top of that, Chaowala was named one of the ‘Top 5 Rising Stars of the Thai League 2018‘ by Siam Sport. Watch out for this lad!

27 (NE) Partchya Katethip

The other goalscorer, getting on the end of Chaowala’s cross to head home from close range. Partchya impressed me in the 2017 Coke Cup, and seems to be carrying on his good form for Port B.

28 (NE) Danudet Treemongkonchok

Trained with the Port first team in 2017 pre-season, and captained Port B in their opening day victory.

29 (27) Chanayut Jejue

Started for Port B, but will need to rack up some goals to stay on the Portlist much longer.

99 (99) Tana Chanabut

You know what, mate? If you fancy extending your police training a little longer I don’t think any of us would mind…

 

Purple Reign: Muangthong Utd 0-2 Port FC

 

Despite the absence of their usual vociferous away support, Port travelled to the Ballardian wastelands of Muangthong and, for the second season running, came away with a win, which takes them to the top of T1. A couple of thousand Port fans turned up to watch the match on the PAT scoreboard, and created probably the best atmosphere at any Thai league game this weekend.

 


 

The times they are a-changin’, and Port headed to the Theatre of Corrugated Iron with arguably the stronger squad, confident of getting a result against a Muangthong side whose star is definitely beginning to fade. Yes, they might have two of T1’s greatest SFSs (Heberty & Jaja), but when the best you can offer in midfield is professional model and occasional (and ludicrously overrated) footballer Charyl Chappuis, you’re in for a long old season.

Jadet made one change from last week’s win over Pattaya, replacing Adisorn with new Korean signing Kim Sung Hwan; but the formation remained an attacking one with Pakorn & Nurul on the flanks and Boskovic spearheading the attack.

The game kicked off in front of swathes of empty seats at the SCG (though it did fill up by half-time), and the atmosphere was certainly a lot better at the PAT, despite those of us unwisely choosing to sit in Zone B requiring the Hubble Telescope to see the screen. What followed was a classic, packed with action & incident, and a great advertisement for how far Thai football has progressed as a spectacle in recent years.

Port, sporting their new purple away kit, made the early running and should’ve taken the lead on 5 minutes when some lovely interplay between new boys Nurul (31) and Kevin (97) resulted in a golden chance for Nurul, but he fluffed his shot and it went straight to the keeper. But 2 minutes later Port got the goal their lively start deserved, in a goal rich in irony. Left-back Kevin had already been announced as a Muangthong player when Port stepped in & gazumped them, and Pakorn’s (7) excellent free-kick was nodded into his own net by Peerapat – who would’ve been on the bench had the Kevin deal gone through.

 

 

The early goal was just what Port needed for Jadet to carry out his tactical masterplan, and they began soaking up wave after wave of MTU attacks, with the brilliant duo of Kim (8) and Siwakorn (16) bossing the midfield, and Rochela (22) his usual calm self at the back. Muangthong’s much vaunted duo of Heberty & Jaja were barely getting a sniff, and last week’s hat-trick hero Chenrop spending more time in Kevin’s pocket than his phone. Even an early injury to Bumrungrad loyalty card holder Todsapol (6) couldn’t disrupt Port, with Dolah (4) seamlessly replacing him.

Muangthong did occasionally carve out chances, hitting the bar on 15 minutes and Worawut (36) spectacularly saving a long-range Heberty strike on 17, but the manner in which Port were managing the game, rather than running around like headless chickens as was so often the case last year, was very impressive indeed. They made it to HT with their lead intact, and for once Operation Fuckup felt like a distant memory.

As expected, Muangthong came storming out in the second half, and as we’d moved closer to the scoreboard, we could actually see what was going on, as Worawut (having possibly his best game in a Port shirt) made another flying stop from a 46th minute Sarach thunderbastard. But Port continued to threaten on the break and on 49 minutes Suarez, who was having one of his invisible nights, volleyed narrowly over the crossbar after being put through by Nurul. Kevin also tried the spectacular on the hour mark with a Roberto Carlos-style volley from far out left, which again only just cleared the crossbar.

Muangthong had been warned, and on 65 minutes Port’s grip on the game tightened with a beautifully worked goal. A long pass from Suarez found Nitipong (34) in acres of space on the right, and the little right-back skipped past an MTU defender before squaring a delightful pass back to the Spaniard who buried it in the back of the net, sparking euphoric scenes at the PAT. Like last season, Port were winning at the SCG; unlike last season, they were bossing the game and from this point the result was never in much doubt, and although Jaja had the ball in the net seconds later, it was correctly disallowed for offside.

Indeed, it could have been much worse for the hosts before the final whistle, with Nurul heading narrowly wide and Boskovic (23) being denied by the Muangthong keeper. Even Kim tried to get in on the act 3 minutes into stoppage time with an outrageous free kick attempt – not sure what the Korean for “taking the piss” is, but he was definitely doing it.

 

There ain’t no party like a Sandpit party

 

After the final whistle the Sandpit was the venue for scenes of celebration not seen at Port in a long time, with the farang and local fans sharing songs (they still haven’t learned “Shit on the Muangthong” yet but we intend to make it happen), beers and other intoxicants (let’s just say one of those beer stall guys is a marketing genius), in further evidence that, even when there’s no game on, the PAT is the best place to experience football in Thailand. I eventually found myself with fellow Sandpitter Tom Earls in a craft beer bar in the wilds of Punnawithi having utterly unnecessary late beers, and I awakened this morning with a throbbing head and a rasping voice. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

As for Port, something very special is happening here. The new players have gelled from the off, with the existing players raising their game to match them; but even more impressive was Port’s tactical mastery, sitting back, soaking up pressure, keeping Heberty & Jaja on a tight leash, and hitting MTU on the break time after time. Muangthong may have felt they were robbed last season, but they can have no complaints this time round. With Kim taking his place in the team the jigsaw is finally complete, and with Port sitting on top of T1 after 2 games, fans now have realistic hopes of them staying there for a good while longer.

 

Sandpit Man of the Match: Kim Sung Hwan

As with last week’s game there were MOTM performances all over the pitch. Keeper Worawut had an absolute stormer of a game; Kevin justified Jadet’s claim that he’s the best LB in Thailand with a stunning display (Panpanpong now seems just a bad memory); Pakorn was superb down the right; Rochela was flawless; and Siwakorn was his usual busy self in midfield.

But this week’s MOTM award has to go to Kim, who oozed class, authority and leadership from the whistle. Port have lacked a leader on the pitch for a long, long time, but in the big, physical, classy Korean they finally have one. He may not speak English or Thai but he certainly manages to tell his teammates where he wants them, and Port look like a different team with him sitting in front of the defence.

 

Sandpit Songs of the Season 2018: Week 2

 

This week’s Sandpit Song of the Season is in honour of Muangthong Utd, Port’s opponents tomorrow evening. Now, before you accuse me of being inflammatory, and unnecessarily harsh on our suburban friends, can I just state that I’ve scoured YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud for songs about Kirins, and unfortunately drawn a blank. Therefore I have little option other than to post this tender romantic ballad by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.

 

 

Happy Year of the Dog from The Sandpit!

 

All of us at the Sandpit (including my models Oggy & Sasha) would like to wish all our readers and Port FC fans everywhere a very happy, healthy & prosperous Year of the Dog!

Let’s hope the new year kicks off with a win over Muangthong on Saturday…

 

Kirin Me Softly – Port Take On Weakened Rivals: Muangthong Utd vs. Port FC, 17 February 2018

 

In an early top of the table clash, T1 leaders Port will take on second place Muangthong United at the Theater of Corrugated Iron on Saturday. With Port fan groups calling for a boycott after numerous violent clashes between the fans at the SCG, both sides opted for an ‘away fan ban’ this year, meaning that Port fans won’t be able to watch the game live this Saturday, and Muangthong fans will also be banned from PAT Stadium when the two sides meet in June.

It’s a big let-down for fans that the game can’t just be policed responsibly, as it’s one of the biggest fixtures in Thai football. Surely if fan representatives and police came up with a plan to bus Port fans in and out of the stadium through a secure entrance then the game would be able to go ahead as normal, but instead both sides seem content to let the issue fester and deal with it again at a later date.

For fans still up for watching the game alongside the Port faithful, there will be a big screen at PAT Stadium which is expected to draw a pretty decent sized crowd. We’ll see you there!

Leaving off-the-pitch issues aside, Port have more reason for optimism in this season’s first Slum vs. Scum derby than they have for many years. With Madame Pang spending big bucks to fix all of Port’s major weaknesses, we now have more of a complete team than I’ve ever seen don the famous blue and orange.

The way Pattaya were dispatched also gave fans reason to hope that that Port’s game-management issues might be behind us. Adding a late third goal to secure a comfortable victory, rather than throwing away two late goals to slump to a disappointing draw, was certainly a welcome change!

Port can also call on the memory of their stunning 3-2 victory at the SCG last season, when a four minute masterclass in finishing put such a crushing dent in Muangthong’s title challenge that they never recovered.

Whereas that game was played in a completely empty SCG though, this game will be attended by all of the Yamaha Ultras and their ‘Curva Sud’ balaclavas. With the noise they’re sure to generate – when they’re not dribbling on their ridiculous ‘Money Can’t Buy History’ banners that is – Port will certainly have an uphill battle in a hostile atmosphere.

 

Muangthong United

Players to Watch

 

Muangthong may have lost some key players in the transfer window, but they still have some pretty useful replacements coming in. And some terrible ones, but we’ll get on to them later.

 

The Brazilians

 

The strike force of Heberty Fernandes (7) and Jaja Coelho (50) needs no introduction. Two of the finest forwards in Thai football brought together in a classic little-and-large partnership will certainly give Port’s defence plenty to think about. In replacing Leandro Assumpcao with Jaja, Muangthong have strengthened on the foreign-player front.

 

Heberty Fernandes, Jaja Coelho

 

Then at the back there’s Celio Santos, one of the best defenders in the league. An extremely imposing figure, he will present a tough challenge to Boskovic if he starts, although after missing out on the opening weekend we’re hoping the burly Brazilian is still indisposed.

 

The Thais

 

This is where things are looking significantly weaker for Muangthong this season.

Replacing Port fan-favourite Theeraton Bunmathan (you know him as Hia Um) is Peerapat Notechaiya (2), and whilst he’s second choice in the national team he’s not fit to lace the boots of the assist freak who will be spending 2018 with Vissel Kobe. I’d certainly take Port new boy Kevin Deeromram over Peerapat, and Muangthong must agree as they tried desperately to sign the Thai-Swede on deadline day, before Port swooped in and hijacked the deal. Chin up, fellas, you can have Panpanpong if you want!

Replacing Thailand’s finest striker of the last decade Teerasil Dangda is either the Thai Heskey Siroch Chatthong (35, Pipo to his friends) or the smaller, weaker and even more profligate Thai Heskey Chenrop Sampaodi (22). Whilst Pipo has stuck manfully to his principles, failing to find the net for Muangthong in T1 for half a season and counting, Chenrop went absolutely mental last weekend. The Thai under 23 striker bucked a trend which has seen him net just 3 times in 60 T1 games, firing in a hattrick after coming on at half time to help his side overturn a 2-0 deficit against Bangkok United. Well, I say firing in, but for the third goal he really just tripped over the ball on the line. I don’t know what on earth possessed Chenrop (a professional footballer, perhaps?) but I suspect he’ll be back to his inept best when Port come to town. The evidence of the previous 60 games holds rather more weight than 45 minutes of weirdness!

 

Siroch Chatthong, Chenrop Sampaodi

 

Replacing Thailand’s best ever goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan is Kampol Patthom-attakul (1), who has played 4 games in 7 seasons for Muangthong. Now, to be fair to Kampol he’s been on loan almost the entire time, and has played something like 100 T1 games, but he’s no Kawin.

Replacing Thailand’s most talented player Chanathip Songkrasin is Thai-Swiss Charyl Chappuis (23) who picked up a silly second yellow card on the opening weekend but won’t miss out on Saturday * as suspensions are only given to players who get a straight red card. With defensive midfielder Wattana Playnum who started that game missing out with injury, reliable captain Sarach Yooyen (6) and back-up Thossawat Limwannasathian (8) should start, which should make for a competent but hardly inspiring midfield.

Also looking competent but not exactly fearsome is the defence, with aforementioned left back Peerapat being joined at the back by Japanese veteran Naoaki Aoyama (4) and Thai national team duo Adisorn Promrak (25) and Tristan Do (19).

 

Naoaki Aoyama, Adisorn Promrak, Tristan Do

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 

 

Port FC

Full Strength?

 

I’m actually going to enjoy previewing our line-ups this season. At full strength Port are solid all over the park, with a few outstanding players to boot. There are even selection headaches for Jadet due to an overabundance of attacking talent in the ranks. What a time to be a Port fan!

We have no idea if Rattanai (17) is back to full fitness or not, but regardless, Worawut (36) dealt with everything Pattaya sent his way, including a second half penalty, with aplomb.

At the back the usual suspects Nitipong (34), Rochela (22) and Todsapol (6) should be joined by Kevin Deeromram (97), who did enough to hold on to his left back slot in his debut on Sunday. Sound defensive work, largely mistake-free play in possession and some tasty dead-ball deliveries put Kevin well ahead of his competition. It’s sure to be a tough day at the office for the Port back 4 though, with Heberty and Jaja posing some very difficult and very different problems. Heberty will be trying to find pockets of space in and around the area to unleash his pinpoint finishes, whereas Jaja will be using brute force to crash through.

 

Kevin Deeromram

 

Port’s fit-again defensive midfielder Kim Sung-Hwan (8) should be the only change to Port’s first XI. Kim will provide more reliable protection for the back four and better distribution than Adisorn (13). Siwakorn (16) was one of many names in the Man of the Match hat last week with a typically smooth display. He even whacked someone in the first couple of minutes and didn’t get booked. Remarkable! Against a weakened Muangthong midfield, Kim and Siwakorn must try to give Port a solid platform from which to attack.

Bodin (10) certainly gave Jadet something to think about with his electrifying cameo, but I doubt he will lose faith in Pakorn (7) just yet. Nurul (31) was practically unplayable in the second half, and will enjoy himself on the right wing against Peerapat if he gets a chance to play there, but with Do at right back, it seems unlikely that either Pakorn or Nurul will make too many inroads on their less-favoured side of the pitch.

In what seem to be more loosely defined roles this season, Suarez (5) and Boskovic (23) were popping up all over the place on Sunday. It worked a treat, as Port overran their opponents in midfield and never seemed short of attackers. Breaking down the Muangthong defence will be more of a challenge, but you have to fancy Port to get on the scoresheet at some point.

 

Dragan Boskovic

 

Predicted Lineup

 

 


 

When the article was first published, I wrote that Chappuis was suspended, but Dom informed me that only a straight red card or an accumulation of four yellow cards gets you a suspension.

 


 

The match will be shown live on True 4U and True Sport HD2 at 18:00 on Saturday 17 February, 2018. Again, away fans are banned so for those who can’t make it to PAT Stadium to watch on the big screen, The Sportsman on Sukhumvit 13 will show the match with sound if you ask them nicely. Mention the Sandpit or wear your Port shirt for a 10% discount.