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Know Your Enemy: Four Favourites Falter

 

The new season is upon us, and so once again I find myself thinking up ways to write stuff that no one other than me wants to read. I started with gratuitous transfer updates, moved seamlessly in to Portlists, dabbled intermittently with Futsal and Academy games, and this year my regular must-not-read articles are going to focus on something most Sandpit readers care about even less than 5 aside in a warehouse: other T1 teams.

Yes, this season after every week of T1 action I’m going to be doing a brief run-down of the notable results and performances of Port’s competitors. My main focus will be those teams in close competition with Port in the standings, but I also reserve the right to disparage Muangthong however well or poorly they’re doing. This will mean watching as much T1 action as I can bear without poking my own eyes out. So highlights videos for the most part, with the odd 90 minute shitshow every now and then.

I’ve come flying out of the blocks this week, watching the Friday night game, then flicking between a few different ones on Saturday and finally watching a match and a half on Sunday. Don’t expect that level of diligence boredom every week!

 


 

The Friday match wasn’t exactly one to whet the appetite for the new season, but Ratchaburi hosted Trat in what, to my surprise, ended up being an absolute belter. In typical T1 fashion it was very much a battle between foreign strikers, one we know and one who was introducing himself to Thai football for the first time. Some of you will be familiar with Trat’s Lonsana Doumbouya after his excellent debut campaign for Prachuap last season. It was no surprise to see him ruthlessly bully his way through Ratchaburi’s lackluster defence and score twice, one a tap-in and one a superb solo effort. It wasn’t to be enough for even a point though, with Ratchaburi’s new signing Yannick Boli going one better and netting a hattrick. He scored his first with a powerful run and shot, before 2 headers secured the win for his side. Winger Steeven Langil also impressed, although Ratchaburi didn’t get the ball to him enough. Both goalies let their side down once each, but their incompetence was canceled out by each other.

 

 

On Saturday the headline match was Buriram vs. Chonburi, but unfortunately I had to sit through Suphanburi vs. Chainat first. Former Port midfielder Gorka Unda was pretty rubbish for Cheating Chainat, and so was just about everyone else, in particular Suphanburi’s former Muangthong gaffer Totchtawan Sripan who picked a useless team while leaving a few decent players on the bench. Thanks for a couple of hours of my life I won’t get back, Coach Ban.

Luckily Buriram vs. Chonburi was a classic, with most of the credit for the exciting game going to the referee. After Chonburi took the lead through Worachit Kanitsribampen, the ref booked a Chonburi player despite apparently not realizing he was already on a yellow, and then sheepishly had to send him off. Buriram quickly took the lead with a double from excellent youngster Supachok Sarachat, but Kroekrit Thaweekarn slid in to level the tie. Chonburi got a second red after Lukian, a really nasty piece of work who was rough and gobby all game long, was sent off. They held on for a super point, but Buriram will feel like they missed an opportunity to get their title defence off to the perfect start. Their new Brazilian Pedro Junior looked pretty good, but Modibo Maiga less so. After a couple of beers I think I used the phrase ‘poundshop Doumbouya’ to describe him. Ouch.

 

 

I also flicked on to the Pattaya, I mean Samut Prakarn City, game a few times, only to be so appalled by the defending on display from both sides that I quickly averted my eyes. My favourite T1 goalie Nont Muangngam put in a typically Nont display for Chiang Mai, being lobbed after a misunderstanding with a teammate, saving a penalty and generally being a bit mental. The difference was as usual the Brazilians, with Samut Prakarn’s big lump Carlao and new signing Ibson Melo doing slightly more damage than David Bala and Eliandro for Chiang Mai. Big Slovenian centre back Aris Zarifovic got the winner, but like all the other defenders we was apparently a bit dodgy.

The other Saturday game saw Victor Cardozo put in a man of the Match display for his new club PTT Rayong against Korat, although just after the award was announced he was beaten in the air by Leandro Assumpcao, who scored the only goal of the game with his header. The Swat Cats nicked the win despite apparently being second best throughout.

And then it was Sunday. I watched the first half of Sukhothai vs. Bangkok United, hoping to see another title hopeful falter, and surprisingly the football Gods indulged me once again. Sukhothai took Bangkok to pieces in the early going before conceding to a jammy deflected effort from Tristan Do. I didn’t watch the second half, but Sukhothai got the goal their performance deserved, and the game finished in a draw. Jhon Baggio was excellent as usual, and new Sukhothai forward Orlandic looked a real handful, although he should have done better in front of goal on numerous occasions. There was more surprising team selection, this time from Bangkok boss Mano Polking, who left big new signing Mike Havenaar out up front as well as key defender Mika Chunuonsee.

 

 

Meanwhile, Muangthong were busy making it a hattrick of let downs for this season’s challengers, being downed by a Caion penalty. I’ve only seen highlights of this one, but it looks as though Prachuap were a little lucky to secure their upset victory. Then again, is it really luck when Adisak shooting and missing from close range is involved? Nah, they knew he was going to miss, as did everyone else besides new coach Pairoj, who dealt with his overabundance of attacking talent by leaving out Mario and starting Adisak alongside Teerasil, Heberty and Aung Thu in the Muangthong attack. Oops. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

We all know what happened in Sunday’s late game, but here’s our report of Port’s dramatic 0-0 draw in Chiang Rai all the same. Since publishing that report, we now also know that we will be without not only Go Seul-ki, who is suspended following his straight red card, but also Rochela, who will be sidelined for about a month with the injury he picked up while getting his second yellow card. Rattanai is also expected to miss out after picking up a foot injury. I was already expecting a goal fest this coming Sunday, with Kevin and Nurul on Port’s left hand size squaring up with Roller and Langil on Ratchaburi’s right, and with Port missing our goalie, our captain and Todsapol’s fitness as usual unknown, we could be in for some absolute mayhem.

 

Public Enemy Number One

 

 

Every week I will also be choosing a Public Enemy Number One, who is the star non-Port performer of the week. Yannick Boli will be most people’s choice after his hattrick, but I’m going for Lonsana Doumbouya who was the focal point for Trat, a team who really don’t have a lot going for them besides the big Guinean. Scoring a brace is one thing, but doing so while enduring the utterly useless Chenrop Samphaodi as a strike partner is what pushes him over the line. Honourable mentions also go to Supachok and Baggio for excellent performances. Not really a week for defenders, this one!

 

Results and Highlights

 

Click on the results to see the official True Visions highlights package.

 

Ratchaburi 3-2 Trat

Chainat 0-0 Suphanburi

Buriram 2-2 Suphanburi

PTT Rayong 0-1 Nakhon Ratchasima

Samut Prakan City 3-2 Chiang Mai

Sukhothai 1-1 Bangkok United

Muangthong 0-1 Prachuap

Chiang Rai 0-0 Port

 

Tom Earls

Tom Earls

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

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