Jadet Fancies Youngsters: Coach Linked With U23 Role

 

Following Thailand’s calamitous Asian Games performance and the subsequent sacking of U23 coach Worawoot, the Thai press have been reporting that Port’s chubby chief Jadet has thrown his hat in the ring for the job. With his Port contract due to end in October, Sir Det told the press that he would relish the chance of taking over the role, and that the U23 coach should be Thai, not foreign. “Foreigners do not love Thailand as much as Thai people” he is quoted as saying, as if that is sufficient qualification for the role. Det also appeared to express a desire to take on a train-the-trainer role, teaching the next generation of Thai coaches to guide expensively-assembled squads to cup quarter-finals and third-place finishes.

The flabby fuhrer may have to wait a while before he joins the national team setup though – our club sources suggest that his contract will be extended for at least another year come the end of the season.

 

Happy When it Rains: Port FC vs R&F FC

 

After reading on the informative and quite excellent Sandpit site (that should get this posted) of the upcoming Port friendlies and realising that all the forces of the universe had aligned, namely the fantastically well planned, well implemented and fully justifiable elongated break for the Asian Games, which saw Thailand again perform so manfully in their execution of abject failure, I realized I could attend the game on Friday against R&F F.C.

When I emerged from the MRT station, I was greeted with a sky as dark and foreboding as anything a wizard or hobbit may expect to see at the end of a long journey or at the especially tense climax of their quest suggesting imminent disaster and skullduggery, I thought that there may be a chance of a spot of rain or two.

I had expected to need to fight my way through crowds of confused looking Hong Kong(ese) fans marveling at the sights and sounds of the Port pre-match experience, intermingling with the frenzied home fans excited and hyped up by the arrival of such international prestigious opponents, but it wasn’t quite as busy as that. I luckily stumbled across some familiar faces amongst the thronging emptiness and effortlessly got a beer at an under-patronized beer stall.

With the decision made to watch the game from the safety of the covered Stand A, picking a path through the non-existent plethora of fans was a veritable joy.  However, the slight rain that was falling was a portent for things to come. Settling down in the luxury of Stand A amongst the great and the good of the Port fan base was made much nicer by the unexpected appearance of numerous potted shrubs, which really gave the impression of trying to create a good impression and was certainly the most greenery I have been surrounded by while watching football. (I was going to make a joke about naïve fans but decided not to).

I was impressed by the fielding of a really strong first 11, (real football report type info now) consisting of: Worawut in goal, with a back line of Nitipong, Rochela, Dolah and (almost definitively) Kevin. Midfield was made up of Bodin, Kim, Sivakorn and (the ever languid) Pakorn with Arthit and a freshly scalped Boskovic up front. This clearly demonstrated how meaningful this meaningless friendly was.

By this point the point the rain had become heavier and reminded me of those scenes of U.S. soldiers trudging through Vietnamese rice fields in lashing violent rain. The sparse number of supporters then had to concentrate in the ever decreasing area of the stand that wasn’t flooded to biblical levels or didn’t mean you getting covered in the type of fine mist you may expect to experience on a boat at the bottom of Niagara Falls. As the players skidded and slipped around well more than the ball did, the football took a secondary nature as it dawned on all concerned that we were now clearly cut off from dry access to the beer stall. Neither side were really able to stay vertical for long enough to really make any creditable impression of being footballers. You could sense the groundsman’s (inexplicably in a hardhat) annoyance at seeing his life’s work being torn up with each fresh gauge and divot being needlessly created.

It was only when the thunder and lightning started that the players understandably trudged off the pitch amid the lake-sized puddles in the forlorn hope that maybe, just maybe somehow defying all logic and basic understanding of how the ground works the pitch would somehow be playable again in 10 minutes or so. Humorous attempts were made to test the bounce of the pitch, with the ball having taken on the features of a medicine ball. More hardy foreign players; Rochela and Dolah, clearly unafraid of melting in the rain, displayed game attempts at keepy-uppy that made me feel better about my own skills before the ref finally confirmed that the game (which had lasted an epic 12 minutes) was abandoned. As with everything that day it took a while for this realization to soak into the clearly dampened crowd. With various wildly optimistic claims of being able to see clearer and bright patches of sky in the distance and that in fact the rain was starting to ease off.

The next challenge was how to make it back to the safety of the Beer stall to discuss and dissect the intricacies of the 12 minutes of football we had witnessed. I’m not sure what the coaches would have got from the game, other than now knowing for sure what all their players would look like if any of them ever entered a Wet-T-shirt contest. Not sure what I got from it either, but whatever “it” was it was deeply debated over a few more beers, while listening to possibly the greatest, but most bizarre mix tape ever assembled, while witnessing a middle-aged Thai man lowering his shorts to reveal his tattoos, until even the beer stalls gave up and went home.

A classic (friendly) Port (abandoned) match day experience!

 

Save The B’s: Port B Beat T4 Drop… Maybe

 

The Controversy

 

It wouldn’t be Port if we went a whole two seasons without being deducted points in a relegation or promotion fight! It looked like a win and two draws had been enough to guarantee Port B T4 survival after Dome FC missed out on a chance to take it to the final day, losing 2-1 to Pathumthani University FC on Monday. This is Thai football though, so the potential for tomfoolery and incompetence is almost limitless.

It appears that Port are largely to blame in this rigmarole, having fielded an ineligible player in their last game against Grakcu Sai Mai. Port were reported for the violation by their opponents, and the FAT has awarded a 2-0 win to Grakcu, despite the game being drawn 1-1.

The funny thing about this situation was that Port must have known they were, if not breaking the rules, at least bending them pretty brazenly. Now, let me say up front that I don’t know what the rules actually are on which players are eligible for which tournaments, so how do I know that Port knew they were doing something naughty? Well, they were about as subtle as a brick. After just 5 minutes, Port subbed on Chakrit Rawanprakone (9), a regular in T1 matchday squads who has made 11 appearances this season. Then on 15 minutes came Arthit Butjinda (29), another T1 regular who has made 18 appearances. Neither substitution was forced by injury, meaning that bringing them off the bench was supposed to be in some way covert, or designed to get around rules about them not being able to start the game. As it turns out, only one of the two – Arthit – was ineligible, but bringing him off the bench was as much of a violation as starting him.

The result of all of this? Port’s ‘loss’ reopens the possibility that Port could finish bottom of the Bangkok region. So defeat on Saturday means WE’RE DOWN?! Hold on, THERE’S MORE! It has also emerged that Port B can not be relegated as they are a ‘B team’, and B teams can not be promoted or relegated. WE’RE SAFE! Not so fast. THERE’S MORE! The entry on T4’s Wikipedia page suggests that Port could still be booted out of T4 in 2019 if there are too many teams in the Bangkok region. Or in their own words… “Could not competed in 2019 Thai League 4 when this zone have member too much. PLT judge this quota.”

SAY WHAT?!

So will Port be in T4 in 2019? I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine. Flip a coin, draw straws, cast runes… it won’t be any less logical than what FAT is doing.

 

T4 Bangkok Table BEFORE Port had a point deducted

 

Controversy Aside

 

Humour me for a while as I pretend that none of this nonsense actually happened.

It has not been the inaugural campaign that Port B would have hoped for, but with a season of competitive experience behind them, Port’s youngsters will be better prepared for next year, and should be looking forward to an improved finish.

They cap off their season on Saturday at home against Dome FC on Saturday at 16:00, so if you want to catch them before their season ends this will be your last chance.

Despite a low-scoring season there have been some promising debut performances, with Chaowala Sriarwut (57) contributing 4 goals from left midfield, Chanayut Jejue (99) scoring 3 times from attacking midfield and Danudet Treemongkonchok (42) also scoring 3.

Chanayut was the most widely-praised of the bunch from the few that watched him play in the back end of the season, and he has been rewarded for his efforts with an appearance in a T1 match day squad as well as a couple of first team friendly appearances. Likewise, Sarawin Phakdeekan (48) was also involved with the first team after impressing in defence.

Next season will hopefully see a few new arrivals to supplement the success stories of 2018, with Port ultimately looking to replicate their distant neighbours Bangkok United B, who need a win on the final day to guarantee second place in the league. Port’s B team and academy is still in it’s infancy of course, but with the first team having made such strides forward over the last couple of seasons, similar attention should also be put in to trying to get hold of the best Thai youngsters and blood them in T4 with a view towards the best breaking in to the first team.

If indeed Madame Pang does, as I expect, extend her stay as Port chairperson, she could well save herself a fair few baht over the next few years by investing a little now in bringing in some of the best young talent available.

Port B play at Insee Chantrasatit stadium, which is on the main campus of Kasetsart University. Click here to see the Facebook page, which includes a map.

 

Memoirs of a Footballing Nomad: Vietnam Tour of Footy 1991

 

“Lads, it’s Vietnam, what could go wrong?”

It was a Tuesday night, early 1991, post-training, and we were enjoying a beer around the Manila Nomads’ pitch-side bar. John Spurr, of the Asian Development Bank, was trying to sell us his proposed football tour of Vietnam, which, at the time, was one of his spheres of influence. Nomads F.C. was not new to overseas tours, regularly visiting SE Asian neighbours such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand, as well as arranging a match featuring UK based members in Southend. For most of our players, however, Vietnam was still a bit of an unknown quantity; best remembered through movies such as The Deer Hunter, Platoon and Apocalypse Now (ironically filmed in the Philippines). I was probably, apart from John, the only one who had visited the country, two years previously.

Vietnam, isolated for so long after bitter years of conflict, was opening up again and John assured us we would be breaking new ground; football pioneers – the first foreign touring football team to play there since the war, he claimed. We would be welcomed with open arms.

Had we bothered to do a bit of background research, we may not have been so easily persuaded.

In 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, and bankrolled by their oil tycoon owner, US side Dallas Tornado went on a pre-season world tour. For some inexplicable reason, they decided part of it should take place in Vietnam. They also decided that they should wear cowboy hats for the entire trip – as an extension of US goodwill, or something. It turned out to be anything but.

After relatively peaceful opening games in Spain, Morocco and Turkey, the next match was to take place in Cyprus, though fate would rear its head before then. After a day sightseeing at the Acropolis, the team was delayed heading to the airport and missed their flight from Athens to Nicosia by half an hour. Lucky them. Flight BEA CY284 exploded at 29,000ft after a bomb was detonated under a seat, killing 63 people. Its intended target, the Greek army general Georgios Grivas, had also missed the flight, and later travelled to Nicosia on the same plane as the Tornado team.

Their later match against Singapore FC descended into a full-scale riot, with the hostile crowd screaming, “Yankee Imperialists’; one player was attacked with a corner flag and the team had to be escorted from the pitch to seek sanctuary in the dressing room for the next two hours. Sounds familiarly like errant referees at PAT Stadium. The Tornado actually visited Manila, beating a select XI 7-0 (any Nomads, one wonders?) and then losing to the National Team.

They played two matches against Vietnamese select sides in Saigon, drawing 1-1 and 2-2. Security was strict and the team managed to survive both games unscathed. A few weeks later, though probably not in response to their tour, the Tet Offensive began. Needless to say, the team hadn’t stayed on. The battered and bruised Tornados finally returned home, shell-shocked, to finish their inaugural NASL season rock bottom with a goal difference of -81.

For the full story of this incredible tour, read the article below.
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/jan/09/forgotten-story-of-dallas-tornado

As for our particular touring team, Manila Nomads were formed in 1914 and its football section is the oldest competitive football team in the Philippines, a sport ranked well behind basketball, boxing and cock-fighting in the eyes of its sporting fandom. At the time of the tour we had a fairly decent team having in recent years, won, amongst others, the Philippine FA Cup, defeating Philippine Airlines, who were able to boast a number of internationals in their ranks, in the Final.

Some of us had played at a reasonable level; my own claim to fame being an FA Cup first qualifying round for Stratford-on-Avon Town against Burton Albion, at the time managed by former Forest and Man Utd player Ian Storey-Moore, and now in English League 1. It was, however, a game that passed most of us by, losing 1-0 in a ‘backs to the wall’, rearguard, defensive action.

But, on this very special tour, we also had many players who were just coming along for the ‘craic’. Nomads’ tours, it was reputed, were notorious for their extravagant hedonism. And this one was to be a marathon – 3 games in 8 days. Faced with this potentially grueling programme, both on and off the pitch, it was mostly single lads who made up the initial party; the married boys would join us after the first game. John had promised us some Vietnamese stand-ins and they were to prove invaluable.

Nomads never got round to donning cowboy hats but our choice of kit may have had some unfortunate repercussions. Kevin Moylan, our captain, worked for Umbro and persuaded us to forgo our usual Nomads’ green and white hoops to wear the full England strip of the time, produced by his company. This, we all feared, might induce in the Vietnamese the impression that we could actually be quite good, even the England team themselves, perhaps. To allay this impression, Kevin also cunningly equipped us with the Scottish team tracksuits, also produced by Umbro, to wear on the way to the match, thus immediately reducing any expectations.

 

 

It wasn’t to work. On our approach to the Vung Tau stadium for our first game, we were greeted by an incredible sight. Thousands of parked bicycles encircled the ground, rather resembling a Raleigh Factory holding yard. The stadium itself was full already: 5,000 plus Vietnamese eager to greet, no doubt, Paul Gascoigne, Bryan Robson and Gary Linekar; I think they would even have been happy with Ally McCoist. Instead, they got the still, slightly hung-over Manila Nomads, but I don’t think they really cared – we were putting Vietnam on the football map again. And, thankfully, for this game we were playing in our regular green.

Our hosts weren’t skimping on ceremony, either. Both teams were lined up on the half-way line; we were now up to a full starting eleven thanks to the generous loan of local players, Lan, Tran and Van. A team of bewildered schoolgirls (and one boy), dressed in what looked like girl-guide outfits topped with pale blue airline hostess caps, handed out flowers. We stood respectfully to attention as they played the Vietnamese national anthem, before placing hands on hearts to belt out, ‘God Save the Queen’. It is at this point that proceedings took on a bizarre and highly amusing twist. Unable to produce this rousing tribute to our beloved monarch, the ‘DJ’ stuck on the only record they had in English at the time: Boney M’s, ‘Ra-Ra-Rasputin’. I kid you not – I couldn’t make this stuff up. Some of us knew the words and politely joined in, not wishing to see our hosts lose face. It’s quite catchy actually, although, at the time, I couldn’t quite see it replacing ‘Abide With Me’. Needless to say, they didn’t play all of it.

 

 

It was while both anthems were being played that we got a chance to run an eye over our Vietnamese opponents. It was not an encouraging sight. They were young, lean and, it appeared, impressively fit. We would rather have been facing Boney M. Luckily, the pitch, was in a state of patchy, ill repair, which we hoped might be a great leveler. It was not to be. Vung Tau FC played with pace, control and were soon a goal up. It was at this point that we discovered, quite by chance, a potential secret weapon.

John Kelly, our stocky midfielder, launched himself into a perfect sliding tackle by the touchline. There was a stunned moment of silence from the crowd, before all 5000 erupted, as one, into gales of laughter. And it wasn’t mocking laughter, either – it was a joyful, ‘did you see that?’ kind of laughter. Moments later, full back Danny McAtamney slid in again with the same, hilarious effect. And so it went on. Maybe slide tackles weren’t in vogue in post-war Vietnam. At one point, we considered slide-tackling each other to render the crowd completely senseless, but this would have descended the game into farce and we were here as ambassadors, after all.

 

 

However, this collective mirth was clearly having a distracting effect on the home team and for a brief period we actually put a few passes together. Well, in truth, Lan, Tran and Van put a few passes together as they were our other secret weapon. When we needed a breather, one, or all of them would be our escape route. In the end, Vung Tau took pity on us and kept the defeat to a respectable 4-2; one of our goals scored by Lan (or Tran or Van); the other a thrice taken penalty by captain Kevin – they were obviously of a mind that he would eventually score if he had enough goes at it.

That evening, the local Communist party hosted a lavish post-match reception. Their leader made a stirring speech in Vietnamese and Kevin responded in English, remembering not to, ‘mention the war’. He did however rather mix up his conflicts by promising, in true General Macarthur style, “We shall return”.

We had been puzzled at the beginning of the evening by the abundance of chairs lining the tables for our relatively small squad. After taking our seats, we were advised to shift around and leave a chair free next to each of us. As Kevin closed his speech and sat down, the Vietnamese MC clapped his hands, a door opened, and, with a susurrative swish of a dozen Ao Dais, the secret of the empty chairs was revealed.

And with that, dear reader, we will draw a veil on Vung Tau.

Our next game was at the Saigon National Stadium against, ironically enough, Saigon Port Authority, who were the current Vietnamese League Leaders and a considerable upgrade on Vung Tau FC. However, we had been strengthened by the arrival of the rest of the squad, although one of our married members saw his ticket mysteriously ‘disappear’ before departure and was forced to buy a replacement. Our two late, albeit assisted goals, in Vung Tau, had also given us some hope. And, they had ‘God Save the Queen’.

It’s the hope that kills. The Port Authority were quick, skillful but, thankfully, largely humanitarian. News must have travelled fast from Vung Tau because, after an initial two goal burst, they played the game at a leisurely pace, doing just enough to ensure victory without humiliation. The passionate, 10,000 crowd were equally respectful, clapping politely in all the right places, even applauding our sliding tackles! The final score was 4-1 but this time there was to be no post-match reception, although we did get some rousing cheers from the crowd on our, ‘lap of honour’.

 

 

We had two or three days to kill before our final game in Long Anh, so we spent it doing what grown men do when they aren’t properly supervised: terrorizing the citizens with bicycle rickshaw races through the streets of Saigon, firing AK 47’s at a nearby shooting range (being a pacifist I didn’t go) and finding increasingly creative ways of utilizing our dong. Our favourite watering place was a little hole in the wall bar which we christened, ‘Eddie’s Garage’, on account of there always being a fleet of motorbikes parked outside.

By the time we got to Long Anh, the local interest in us had died down and our dismal 3-1 defeat was watched by just a one-legged veteran and his dog. At one point we did consider inviting them to play but they may have done a better job and we had been humiliated enough already. At least we had a 100% record!

As Nomads’ tours go, and there were many, this one was truly memorable and I still have the photograph album I produced for the tour members to keep as a souvenir. The Vietnamese were fantastically warm and friendly hosts and my many subsequent return visits to various parts of the country have only reinforced that opinion. I actually went back there twice on football tours in subsequent years, once with the British Club, Bangkok, and then a return visit with Nomads, featuring five of the original 1991 tourists.

And I can never listen to Boney M without my hand on my heart and a smile on my face.

 

Kong & Kang: Port Announce Two Friendlies

 

STOP PRESS Please note the Ratchaburi game on 29 August will now be played at the Mitr Phol Stadium in Ratchaburi, NOT at the PAT!

With yet another long break for the Asian Games (a month off, with Thailand likely coming home after the first week), Port have arranged a couple of friendlies to get the players back to match fitness prior to the 5 September restart.

First up this Friday (24 August) are Hong Kong Premier League side R&F FC, the B team of the more famous CSL side Guangzhou R&F FC. We know little about them beyond their Wikipedia page, but they did beat Chonburi’s reserves 5-1 in a friendly at the weekend, not that that is necessarily an indicator of quality given the current standard of Chonburi’s first XI. They also have former Scottish U21 goalkeeper Andy McNeil on their coaching staff.

Then the following Wednesday (29 August), Port welcome Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC to the PAT. Port have already beaten the Sugar Boys twice this season, including that spectacular 4-1 demolition at the Mitr Phol Stadium back in June, and so whoever is coaching Ratchaburi this week won’t be looking forward to facing us again. It also gives us a chance to welcome our old friend Kang Soo-Il, the Moustache Cream Cowboy himself, back to Khlong Thoey, after he decided to spit water at the front few rows of Zone B on his last visit. I seriously hope noone tries to intimidate him by making moustache gestures at him, because that would not be funny AT ALL.

Admission is free to both games and the usual friendly beer amnesty applies.

 

Friday 24 August

Port FC vs R&F FC

17:00 at PAT Stadium

 

Wednesday 29 August

Port FC vs Ratchaburi Mitr Phol FC

17:00 at PAT Stadium

 

Southern Discomfort: Southern District FC 3-2 Port FC (Friendly) Match Report

 

 

Hong Kongese club Southern FC overcame a makeshift Port side 3-2 in what for them is pre-season preparation, and for Port a mid-season break. The club, curiously known as The Aberdeeners, fielded a strong team complete with a host of foreigners, while Port fielded a combination of first team, second string and Port B players, with the foreign contingent plus halfies Kevin (97), Dolah (4) and Slot (11) running laps and stretching on the sidelines.

Injured winger Nurul (31) was seen hobbling around, first wearing padding on his knee and then not. He’s nowhere near fit just yet. Rattanai (17) was also spotted looking fragile, but Adisorn (13) was doing some more vigorous training indicating that he is nearing fitness.

 

 

From the off it was clear that Southern were taking proceedings rather more seriously than their opponents, with instructions constantly being barked out by Anglo-Pakistani defender Zesh Rehman at the back, a mystery foreign-looking fella with a Chinese name in midfield and feisty Brazilian forward Souza. While Southern looked dangerous with some direct balls over the top, Port’s play in midfield was a bit tidier if less threatening, with Anon (20) and Siwakorn (16) looking good in the engine room.

Port’s defence looked less than comfortable dealing with Southern’s Brazilian duo up top, with the worst offender being stand-in captain Todsapol (6) who, after getting subbed off at half time against Buriram, had another stinker. His partner in defence was Port B defender Sarawin (48) who actually looked calm in comparison, and dealt with everything that came his way with no frills and no drama.

It was no surprise when Southern took the lead, but Port hit back nearly straight away. A long ball over the top was chased down by Arthit (29), and Port’s second choice striker showed excellent technique with the outside of his right foot to slide the ball in to the side netting.

The rest of the half provided what you’d expect. Anon looking like Port’s best player in midfield, some lovely touches then some awful touches from Bodin (10), Pakorn (7) trotting around and shooting from corners, Jetjinn (15) getting in to good positions then providing awful service and Terens (28) running around a lot to no particular effect.

It was Terens who provided the only other first half drama as he went barreling in to the back of a Southern player in the penalty box with such force that he ended up rolling up his back and over his head, plummeting to the floor with such velocity that he managed to cut his head open in the landing. After some lengthy treatment, poor old Terens was replaced by Somprasong (14), finally getting a chance to strut his stuff for the Port fans.

Somprasong looked feisty in the challenge and played very sensibly with the ball, almost always retaining possession and playing the correct pass, but he didn’t really show the dynamism we were hoping to see, and that he will need to challenge the likes of Nurul and Terens for a permanent place in the squad.

 

 

At half time there were several changes, with more fringe players getting the opportunity to impress. In the case of young forward Chanayut (99) he has done that on a consistent basis whenever he has had the opportunity, and this was no exception. He was probably Port’s best player in the second period, always looking to drive play forward and showing a very promising turn of pace with the ball. Fellow B teamers Pummared (41) and Apisit (45) looked decent if unspectacular in midfield, with Anon moving back in to defence with Todsapol, where he looked… like a midfielder playing in defence. Of course in friendlies it’s worth trying these things out, but in this case the experiment was decidedly a failure.

Southern scored two more goals, after which Port finally decided to start playing again. Bodin came back on rolling-subs style and got Port back in to the game with an absolute screamer from the edge of the area. After a goal mouth scramble the ball came to the Fresh Prince and he took a touch, before unleashing a wicked dipper of a strike which was over the keeper and under the bar before he knew what had happened. If only he would show that kind of killer instinct more often when it mattered!

By way of rounding up, Nitipong (34) attacked a lot, Watchara (1) was mistake-free in goal and distributed the ball well and Chakrit (9) was useless playing out of position (quelle surprise) up front.

All in all, a good result for Southern and a good workout for some of Port’s second and third string.

 

The Sandpit’s Men of the Match

 

 

One from each half. Anon bossed the midfield in the first half, and Chanayut drove Port forward relentlessly in the second, showing good footwork and impressive acceleration.

 

Wooh! Pang’s Killa Bs on the Swarm: The Port B Experience

 

 

These are the dog days of T1, as the league takes a one-month summer break for the Asian Games, and with the futsal on a hiatus too, those of us craving live footy have little option but to plumb new footballing depths and head into the murky world of T4. Football may be known as ‘the beautiful game’, but T4 didn’t get that particular memo, and we will experience things that will leave mental scars for some time.

Today’s fixture is Port FC B vs Kopoon Warrior (named after famous Thai gangster Al Kopoon). With Port sitting second bottom, just two points above the drop zone, it’s a game that Supersperm’s boys can’t afford to lose. Yes, Supersperm – the same ripped jeans-wearing Bollywood villain-resembling coach who replaced Gary Stevens in 2015. This once proud T1 gaffer is now plying his trade at the squeaky bum end of T4, and he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it much. His team consists of mostly U21 and U23 players, with a handful of very occasional T1 ‘stars’ – rapper and occasional goalkeeper Watchara (1), forgotten left-back Jetjinn (15), and central midfielder Pummared (41), a player I’d previously thought underrated but who will spend 90 minutes disabusing me of that view.

 

A packed crowd at Kasetsart

 

Port B play their home games at Insi Chansaratitya Stadium – the only stadium in Bangkok to contain the word ‘tit’ and thus a firm Sandpit favourite – which is located in the grounds of Kasetsart University. I’ve been here before, after a clueless but well-meaning moto taxi driver brought me here when I was trying to get to Police Tero last season; at least this time there’s a game on, though it isn’t noticeably much busier.

Tickets purchased (100BHT!!!), we head to our seats in the main stand with 20 minutes to spare. What’s this, I hear you cry – no pre-match beers? Well, you may have seen the word “university” above, and that means the stadium is an alcohol-free zone. Having been educated (and I use the term loosely) on a campus with no fewer than nine bars, this never fails to amaze me.  However, as Port fans we have the Leo Fairy on our side – that supernatural being who watches over anyone wearing a Port shirt and ensures that they always have access to the amber nectar. It’s truly amazing – no matter how unlikely or hostile the venue (the Saudia Arabian Cup Final; an AA meeting on the moon for example), if you show up wearing a Port shirt and stand around long enough, eventually someone will show up and hand you a Leo. Should you be about to embark on a dangerous desert expedition, simply pack your Port shirt and, should you find yourself stranded hundreds of miles from the nearest oasis, just put it on, and within minutes some lads from Khlong Thoey will show up with a case of the stuff. Truly remarkable. So we take our seats, put all our hopes & dreams in the hands of the Leo Fairy, and wait. And sure enough, five minutes later my phone buzzes, revealing a message from fellow Sandpitter Dave Barraclough, telling me he’s on his way to the stadium and bearing half-time refreshments. The Leo Fairy truly moves in mysterious ways, her wonders to perform.

The game kicks off in front of a hundred or so fans, many of them Port youth players, families and WAGs, and pretty quickly it becomes apparent that we’re not in T1 any more. If you thought T2 was bad, I don’t recommend you trying T4. It’s Sunday League stuff for the most part, with those few players who show a bit of talent – Port’s nippy forward Chanayut (99) and big burly CB Siriwat (86) for example – lost in a sea of hoofing, poorly placed headers and hospital passes. Port have most of the possession, Chanayut frequently getting into good positions but being unable to pick out a teammate in the box, but Kopoon carve out the best chances, with Watchara the busier of the two keepers. On the stroke of half-time, Kopoon’s best player Thammarat (40) skips through the Port defence and beats W-Hot, only for the ball to rebound off the post. And that is as good as it gets.

 

Traditional chicken – Kasetsart has no time for these modern chickens with their fancy ways

 

At half-time the Leo Fairy bestows her blessings upon us as Dave opens his motorbike seat to reveal a big plastic sack full of ice and cold cans of Leo, and we fall on it like hungry lions encountering a wounded antelope, under the watching eyes of the security guards for whom such bacchanalia is clearly the most eventful occurrence of their careers thus far. After discussing the charms of Gillian Anderson (during which Barraclough oversteps the mark with his memories of The X Files – more The Kleenex Files in his case), we give the security guys something to do by trying to take our beers into the stadium; they leap into action and tell us there’s no beer allowed inside. We’ve clearly made their season and given them something to tell their grandchildren about.

 

Hail to the Leo Fairy

 

The second half is, if such a thing is possible, even worse than the first, with Kopoon getting the upper hand but, like Port, failing to get a shot anywhere near the target. There’s one little vignette that sums up T4 football – Kopoon make a substitution, and the departing player has to hand over his shinpads to his replacement. Life’s hard in the basement. It ends 0-0, a fair result overall, and we see little to encourage us to return. The aforementioned Chanayut and Siriwat show promise, but there’s little spark elsewhere and even Pummared and Jetjinn look like they’ve been dragged down to T4 level when they could by rights be playing in T2 at least.

Tom and I jump in a cab and rush back to the more civilised climes of Sukhumvit 101/1, and park ourselves at the bar of Zinc 101 to watch Liverpool v West Ham and remind ourselves that it is, despite what we witnessed earlier, still a beautiful game. And, here at least, the Leo Fairy’s magic is not required.

 

The bloke on the left has the right idea

 

 

Port B Take On ‘Poon Army: Port B vs. Kopoon Warrior Preview, 12 August 2018

 

This has been a long time coming! Port B have been trundling along below The Sandpit’s radar all season and, besides our Squad List and the odd Portlist, Port B’s youngsters haven’t really featured in our coverage. Part of the reason for that is the fact that they’re second bottom in the Bangkok region of T4, and are the equal lowest scorers in the division with just 14 goals. With three games remaining, Port are just 2 points above the only relegation spot.

 

 

Where do you go if you’re relegated from T4? The Thai Amateur League. No Thanks. Currently in the drop zone are Dome FC, who will be Port’s final day opponents. A 3 point cushion going in to that crunch game would be nice!

 

Kopoon Warrior

 

No, not Warriors; Warrior. Just the one. Kopoon, 4 places but just 2 points above Port in the table, are Sunday’s opponents. Winless in their last 6 games with 2 draws and 4 losses, Kopoon look like just the kind of team Port will fancy facing. Wittawat Wongnarat (11) is the main goal threat (he has 7 so far this season), whilst captain Ratchanon Ragsa-ad (13) has scored 4.

 

 

That kit is an absolute beauty. And so ends my detailed analysis of our opponents!

 

Port B

The Players

 

Yes, I thought it would make rather more sense to introduce some of our own players, most of whom will be complete unknowns to Port fans. We’ll start with a first-teamer who has been helping out in T4 for a while, and hasn’t played a minute of first team football in 2018.

It’s Port’s number 1. Watchara Buathong (1) is a fine ‘keeper who could quite easily be playing for a bottom half T1 team or at least a decent T2 team. He has spent some of his time with Port on loan in recent years, although for the last 2 seasons he has taken the cushy option as Port’s third choice stopper. He might not be at his sharpest, having featured only a few times for Port B, so Port could also opt for Anipong Kijkam (81), who has played more regularly in 2018.

 

 

Regular defender Sarawin Phakdeekan (48) was suspended last week, but expect him to come back in to the team and slot in alongside big fella Siriwat Chumyen (86). Sarawin has made a couple of matchday squads for the first team this season, as well as appearing in a pre-season friendly.

 

 

Pummared Kladkleep (41) joined Port’s first team in 2017 from just-disbanded BBCU. Having played for teams like Chamchuri United and Khon Kaen United it is a bit of a head-scratcher that Port thought there was any chance he would make much of an impact in T1. 3 first team starts in 2 years later, he’s playing more regularly in T4 than he did in T1, and at this level Pummared should be a dominant force and an experienced head in central midfield. Alongside him in midfield or perhaps the wing will be Port B captain Danudet Treemongkonchok (42), who spent the 2017 pre-season with Port’s first team and scored his third goal of the season in last week’s 1-0 victory.

 

 

Either alongside Pummared or slotting in at left back will be Port B’s top scorer in 2018, Chaowala Sriarwut (57). One of the only Port B signings to be announced to any fanfare, Chaowala is very highly rated, and his shown his potential by netting 4 times, despite having been deployed at full back on numerous occasions.

 

 

The front line is where Port B have struggled this season. Young forward Chanayut Jejue (99) is the pick of the bunch, having scored 3 times in 2018, but he certainly doesn’t have the physique to lead the line, and if I had to guess, this is probably why Port have struggled so much going forward. Small technically proficient forwards are nice to have if they partnered with some muscle, but pretty ineffective otherwise. Looked excellent when given a run-out in a mid-season friendly a couple of months ago.

 

 

Form

 

Before last week’s huge win over Police Tero B, Port had suffered four consecutive losses, with a draw coming before that. Let’s hope the tide has turned!

 

Location

 

As this is a Port B game, it will NOT be at PAT Stadium, but Insee Chantarasatit Stadium (สนามอินทรีย์จันทรสถิตย์ > click here to see the Facebook page, which includes a map) and kick off is at the earlier than usual 17:00. It isn’t going to be on TV, so the only way to see the boys in action is to come along. As this stadium is on a university campus there will be no beer being sold, and we imagine that the independent Leo salesmen who so often accompany us on our away trips will also not be making the trip. Bring your own booze, fellas. It’s a holiday on the Monday, so don’t hold back!

 

Midfield General Mediocrity: Port’s Foreign Midfielders Since 2012

 

Wikipedia, Transfermarkt, Soccerway, Facebook, Instagram… I shudder to think just how much time I’ve spent on some of these sites while compiling the second in my series of looks back at Port’s foreign players since 2012.

My look at former Port strikers featured rather more of the Thierry Fidgeu than the Leandro; the ridiculous far outweighing the sublime in Port’s perennial problem position. Port’s former midfielders aren’t nearly as bad, although there are some comically poor players to go along with the cult-hero legends. Walking contradiction and certified Spanish omelette Gorka is the perfect example. Occasionally woeful, rarely brilliant, mostly mediocre. Here are Port’s foreign midfielders since 2012.

 


 

Chilean-Palestinian attacking midfielder Matias Jadue was an utterly ridiculous addition to Port’s 2017 squad, which at the time already had more foreigners than could be registered to play in T1. Surprise surprise, Jadue failed to register a single competitive minute in a Port shirt, although he came close when he was named in the starting XI for a cup game against Royal Thai Fleet, before he got himself injured in the warm-up. He had previously played in the top two Chilean leagues, although he didn’t manage to make more than 17 appearances for any one club in his six years there. Next it was PKNS in Malaysia, for whom Jadue netted an impressive 16 goals in 34 games. The move to Port came as a surprise to all, but ended in predictable fashion, with his departure to T2 side Krabi being announced in 2018. Jadue had a thoroughly underwhelming spell at Krabi, who were second bottom of the table when he departed mid-season for Ho Chi Minh City in the Vietnamese top tier. Here’s where things get wild. At the time of writing, Jadue has 6 goals in 8 games, and has absolutely taken V1 by storm. Who saw that coming?

 

 

Japanese left winger Genki Nagasato is a player well-liked by fans and team-mates alike for his enthusiasm and work-rate. He joined Port in 2016 from Ratchaburi, having played for 6 Japanese teams before that, and helped Port gain promotion back to the top flight. In 2017 he found it a little tougher back in the top tier, but once again made an important contribution to Port’s mid-table finish and left with tears in his eyes and his name ringing out among the Port faithful. Genki was never the most technically gifted footballer, but what he lacks in tricks and flicks he makes up for with graft. In 2018, Genki joined recently-founded but ambitious Tokyo United, who are still playing in Tokyo’s regional leagues, but have achieved 3 successive promotions. You won’t find a single Port fan who doesn’t wish Genki the very best in the twilight of his football career.

 

 

This was a strange one. Rennan Oliveira came to Port via Qatar, Greece and his native Brazil, but was the odd man out for most of his time at Port, joining during the 2016 season and never really justifying a place in the squad. As a creative force he was far less useful than Maranhao, and as a defensive force far less solid that Wagner, hence why his time with Port was really just a waste of everyone’s time. As Tim wrote on Facebook at the time: “He brings great hair but nothing more.” Rennan played a few games in the cups, made little impact and was not heard of again until some bizarre rumours suggested that he would be re-signed for the 2017 season. Fortunately that didn’t happen, and Rennan moved back to the Brazilian regional leagues with Sao Bento. After a sideways move to Luverdense, Rennan then secured a move back to Asia with Al -Ain. Wait, what? The same Al-Ain who have dominated Emirati football for decades and reached three AFC Champions League finals? No, a completely different Al-Ain who play in the second tier of Saudi football.

 

 

Wagner Carioca is a strong, combative Brazilian midfielder who spent a tumultuous 2016 season with Port. Brought in at the last minute after the Serginho Incident, Wagner is a player who, besides his brief and unsuccessful dalliance with Port, has spent his whole career in the second to fourth tiers of Brazilian football. When he arrived he looked very impressive, adding strength and guile to Port’s weak midfield, but he found it tough to nail down a regular place in the team with Rochela, Maranhao and Thiago routinely preferred. Wagner was then involved in a very unsavoury incident against Songkhla where, after an insane Thiago Cunha tackle, Wagner appears to have directed racial abuse at Diogo Rangel, who their goalkeeper then restrained with seemingly super-human strength, saving Wagner and Thiago from the batterings they probably deserved. The video can be found here.

Anyway, Wagner was dropped from the squad in the second half of the season, before returning briefly for the last few games after the Thiago Incident (the one where he smashed the door after being subbed off – we appreciate that there were a few) and being released at the end of the season, with mixed feelings from Port fans. Yes, the team did look better with him in defensive midfield, but after his antics against Songkhla, good riddance. After leaving Port, Wagner returned to Macae for a third stint in the Brazilian third tier.

 

 

Serginho’s time at Port consisted of a few friendlies, a suspicious death and possibly an Anelka-esque ride to the airport in the boot of a car. Serginho looked like a promising signing, coming from Daegu FC in the Korean top tier, but looked off the pace in the pre-season friendlies he played for Port after signing at the start of the 2016 season. He was a defensive midfielder who was also tried in central defence, but he didn’t look ideal in either position before a bizarre incident ended his Port career before he had played a competitive game. We don’t know all the details, but apparently there was a tragic fatal accident involving Serginho’s car and a motorcycle. Before we even knew what had happened, Serginho’s contract was cancelled and he left the country in a serious hurry, with Wagner coming in as his replacement. Serginho ended up at Gangwon FC in Korea in 2016, but as far as I can tell has been without a club since the start of the 2017 season, despite being just 29 years old. His Instagram suggests that he plays an awful lot of beach football, although I’m not sure if he is playing competitively.

 

 

Gorka Unda is a talented attacking midfielder, who was a Port player during the 2015 relegation season. Gorka started in the third tier of Spanish football with CF Rayo Majadahonda, but his talent was recognized by a certain Real Madrid (yes, really) who put him in their B team. Unfortunately rather than challenge for a spot in the first team, Gorka was relegated to the C team and eventually released. He went on to play in Spain and Austria, before moving to Thailand in 2014, where he has been ever since. Gorka had a successful season playing alongside one Brent McGrath with Sisaket, before both were snapped up by Port in 2015. In Port’s pretty disastrous squad in that season, Gorka was actually one of Port’s more effective attacking players, despite having the mobility of a large bowl of paella – incidentally, something that the bulky Spaniard looked to have been enjoying a little too much of. His touch and passing could be superb on his day, but it certainly didn’t help the mercurial Madridista that he generally ran out of steam midway through the first half, and that his forwards that season were McGrath, Vincent and Wuttichai. Gorka left Port after they were relegated with some staunch supporters still lauding his creative talents, while others were more than happy to see the back of him. He moved to Khon Kaen in 2016, then after their dissolution he has had short stints with Songkhla, Chainat and now Angthong, who, despite consistently registering top-half T2 placings in recent seasons, Gorka has inspired to a current position of 15th. Out of 15. Gorka can still be seen in PAT Stadium every now and then, as he occasionally pops in to visit fellow Spaniards Rochela and Suarez during mid-season breaks.

 

 

His name is still emblazoned across the shirts of many Port fans to this day. One of the most popular foreign players in recent Port history, Hironori Saruta was a breathtaking winger who on his day could dance through TPL defences at will. He used his speed, balance and low centre of gravity to bamboozle defenders with lightning-fast changes of direction, and as a fan you just knew that when Saruta got the ball anything was possible. Saruta spent the first 3 years of his career in Japan, before moving to Sriracha in 2009, and then spending a very successful 4 years at Bangkok Glass where he notched 30 goals. He joined Port in 2014 and really lit up PAT Stadium, but in the following season he suffered some niggling injuries and didn’t quite find his best form. He moved on to Chiang Rai in 2016, before surprisingly making the step down to Udon Thani in the third tier, who won promotion with former Port trio Saruta, Ali Diarra and Valci Junior all featuring. In 2018, Saruta announced his retirement from football after 9 years in Thailand.

 

 

Ali Diarra is a central midfielder who had 2 stints at Port, firstly on loan from Muangthong in 2013 and then as a permanent signing in 2015. Diarra was a tall, leggy enforcer who was adept at the physical side of the game as well as being a good passer of the ball. In Diarra’s first spell he really earned the adoration of the Khlong Toei faithful, providing a solid platform from which the creative talents of Leandro could be fully utilized. In an anecdote typical of Diarra’s commitment to the cause, Dom tells me about the Ivorian putting in a particularly hard-working shift away at Trat, helping Port secure a crucial win in the push for promotion. When Dom spoke to Ali after the game, it turned out that he had been suffering from diarrhea and really shouldn’t have been on the pitch at all. And so Ali Diarrhea was born! In Ali’s second stint with Port in 2015 he was ludicrously underused, being kept out of the team for the most part by Lee Ho and Gorka. In Gary Stevens’ brief stint in charge Ali was employed as a centre back to pretty good effect, but ultimately it wasn’t to work out for him that season at Port, and he was loaned to Thai Tobacco Monopoly, then BBCU before finally finding a permanent home at Udon Thani in 2017, and moving back to Bangkok FC in 2018.

 

 

Kim Geun-chul was a midfielder who was well-regarded during his stint with Port in 2014. He was a solid, technically sound midfielder who would always give his all for the team, but his impact was limited by fellow Korean Lee Sang-Ho and Saruta, who were often preferred as Port’s Asian foreigners. When he did play he impressed, and when he left at the end of the season the consensus among Port fans was that they would have much preferred to keep hold of him. Alas, he apparently moved on to PTT Rayong, although there is no record of him in their 2015 squad. Kim’s Facebook page tells me that he did in fact play for PTT Rayong and then PT Prachuap, both in the second tier, but the trail then goes cold, suggesting that he probably ended his career at the age of 32 or 33.

 

 

Patrick Reichelt is a German-Filipino winger who played for Port in 2013-14. His career began in the regional leagues of the German fourth tier, but at the age of 24 Reichelt moved to Global FC in the Philippines, and was immediately called up to the Filipino national team. From there he made the move to Port, where he did well in the second tier, although the general feeling was that he was probably not a TPL-calibre player. He showed some impressive skills and trickery during his half-season with Port, but ultimately it was not a huge surprise to anyone when he moved back to the Philippines with Ceros-Negros. At his new club he scored just under a goal a game, which would be a very impressive rate if it wasn’t for the fact that they were winning games 10-0, 11-0 and even 16-0 at the time. Unfortunately, Reichelt suffered a cruciate ligament injury in 2016 and was out of action for more than a year, but is now back in action and playing regular football.

 

 

Ivan Petrovic was an attacking midfielder who spent 6 months of his 20 year career with Port in 2013. Based on what little I can find about his career he seems to be one of the higher-caliber players Port have signed, although that didn’t translate to much success in Khlong Toei. Petrovic began his career in his native Serbia, where his record looked pretty impressive, before moving to Iran, where his career really took off. Wikipedia has Petrovic playing over 200 games, scoring 23 goals and scooping awards such as ‘Foreign Player of the Year’ and ‘Top Assister’. Iranian football clearly saw the best of Petrovic, but at the age of 33 he joined Port and never really got going. From what little is written and remembered about the Serb, he was a decent player with a good pass on him, but he played just 12 games, scoring 3 goals, and no one was particularly bothered to see him move on. His next clubs were Nakhon Ratchasima, Thai Honda and Bangkok FC, after which he moved to Global FC in the Philippines. Much like Reichelt, Petrovic was notching up more than a goal or an assist per game, although his team were regularly sticking double figures past their opponents. In 2017, Petrovic finally called time on a long and successful career at the age of 37.

 

 

Kim Ba-We was a Port midfielder between 2011 and 2013. In stark contrast to Petrovic, this stint with Port may well represent the entirety of Kim’s professional footballing career. This is based on the fact that I can find nothing at all about the man online, except a few social media accounts in which there are hundreds of pictures of his time with Port and no reference whatsoever to any other clubs he has played for. The closest thing we have to news about his departure is speculation on Facebook about him moving to Ayutthaya in June 2013. In the end he did leave Port mid-season, but there is no record of him joining Ayutthaya. For more on Kim’s ability as a player, I direct you to this excellent article by Sandpit contributor Andy Hailstone, who we assume was in possession of a stress-ball while trying to put a positive spin on a man that some have described as the worst foreign player to play for Port in recent memory.

 

 


 

If there are some players you think I’ve missed, first check out my piece on strikers, as some of them played both positions, then leave a comment and let me know who!

 

Lions Restore Pride: Port FC 2-2 Buriram Utd

 

With the scars of midweek still fresh, Port looked to bounce back this weekend and take revenge against the Buriram side who ruthlessly exposed their defensive frailties in midweek. This meeting between first and third in the Thai League promised to be the pick of the weekend’s fixtures, featuring some of the division’s best individual talents and played in front of a sell-out crowd.

Port lined up in a relatively conservative formation compared to the team they put out in midweek, packing the midfield with Siwakorn Jakkuprasat (16), Kim Sung-Hwan (8) and new signing Anon Samakorn (20). Bodin Phala (10) also finally earned his much-deserved start against his former club.

Buriram fielded a very similar lineup to the one that had already beaten Port in midweek, with the only change coming at right wing-back as versatile Korean star Yu Jun-Soo was eligible to return to the team.

The visitors began in much the same way one would expect them to, with Brazilian striker Diogo Luis Santo spending more of the first five minutes on the ground than on his feet, immediately getting the raucous crowd at the PAT Stadium on his back. Buriram looked to adopt the same defensive posture that worked so well for them in the last encounter, and the early action suggested that Port were in danger of falling foul of the same trap.

However, the changes to the team did pay off, with the play appearing much slicker and sharper in key areas. Bodin’s involvement and link-up with Kevin Deeromram (97) on the left flank brought out the best in both of them, with the Thai-Swede putting in another typically excellent attacking performance early doors.

Seeing Anon in action for the first time was also particularly enjoyable. He began in a primarily defensive role early in the match, choosing mostly to play simple passes, but as the game progressed the Leicester City academy graduate began to show his more and more excellent on-ball ability.

However, the cracks very quickly began to show. Without Nurul or Suarez present to break down the opposing defense, the creative onus was placed upon Siwakorn, who was simply unable to affect the game in this role. Additionally, Kevin’s commitment to attack left Rochela stranded on many occasions when faced with Brazilian winger Osvaldo (17), making the 28-year-old Spaniard look about 38 instead.

Buriram were finally able to make one of their breakaway chances count in the 25th minute when a long-range effort from Rattanakorn Maikami (26) took a wicked deflection and cannoned off the post, before falling to the feet of Diogo. The sudden change of direction caught Port defender Nitipong Selanon (34) completely off-guard, giving the Brazilian forward little resistance as he slotted the ball home.

The sense of deflation around the PAT Stadium seemed palpable as Diogo wheeled away in celebration. With the wind knocked out of the hosts’ sails, Buriram didn’t have to wait long to get their second. A simple chipped ball to Diogo was enough to catch Elias Dolah (4) completely off guard, as he was outpaced and outmuscled by the Brazilian to make it 2-0.

Just as it appeared all hope was lost, who better to step up than Pakorn Prempak (7) with a cheeky free-kick placed perfectly in the top-left corner shortly before half-time. This would be Pakorn’s only meaningful contribution of the game, as he insisted on spending the rest of his time putting on an exhibit of why he has only earned two caps for the Thai National Team. With the reaction time of a snail and the work ethic of a high school senior, it is a real shame to see a player of such vast technical skill be wasted in this manner.

With the window of opportunity open once again, it appears that Jadet took the time to read the letter I kindly sent him last week, as Port began with a furious press on the midfield, exposing the lack of on-ball ability across Buriram’s back-line. He also made the divisive decision to withdraw Bodin for Arthit Butjinda (29), allowing the substitute to play as a target-man and giving Boskovic the freedom to roam around him.

After Yu Jun-Soo missed an absolute sitter from the edge of the six-yard box, Port would finally have their route back into the game. With Toby still outside the stadium drinking his (second?) half-time beer, Port found it to be the opportune time to score their second goal in the 52nd minute when an inch-perfect Kevin cross found Kim Sung-Hwan entirely unmarked to score a diving header that will surely have the visitor’s perfectionist coach Bozidar Bandovic up in arms.

Having already made the decision to move to a flat back five with Suchao as a defensive right-back, Buriram found it difficult to switch back into their attacking gear, and the momentum was firmly with the home side for the final half-hour of the match.

A winning goal looked to have come from the unlikeliest of sources when Nitipong managed to get one-on-one against Buriram’s goalkeeper, but the linesman rightly flagged for offside.

Diogo came close to taking the three points for the away side on numerous occasions, and tended to follow up each one with a lengthy spell of rolling and moaning on the ground as time began to run out. The Brazilian managed to hit the upright from a free-kick in the final minute of stoppage time, with substitute goalkeeper Worawut Srisupha (36) making an excellent save to deny the follow-up from Andres Tunez.

As the referee blew the final whistle, neither side seemed to upset by the point, but Buriram will have more to be aggrieved about after throwing away their two-goal lead. However, due to results elsewhere, they still sit nine points clear atop the Thai League and seem set to win their seventh Thai League title.

Port, meanwhile, maintain their three-point lead over Muangthong United in third place, meaning the side are still on course for their best league finish in over a decade.

 

The Sandpit Man of the Match: Kim Sung Hwan

 

 

Despite having played a full 90 minutes in midweek, Kim looked fresh and sharp in this match, regularly covering more ground than most of his teammates and effectively shutting down Buriram’s midfield. Without the likes of Nurul or Suarez in front of him, the onus was on Kim to help create and make late runs into the box – something he did perfectly to score the second goal. He has been an invaluable asset for Port this season, and has once again been at the heart of a strong performance at the PAT Stadium.