Know Your Enemy: Football’s Coming Relegation Zone

 

It’s time for my roundup of T1’s gameweek 2 action, a week which saw two of the supposed big four title contenders continue to struggle. Both Buriram and Muangthong remain winless, after failing to overcome Suphanburi and Bangkok United. Early pace-setters Prachuap and Samut Prakan City are having no such problems, with two surprising wins from two, and there were also some really rubbish games which I can’t wait to tell you all about.

The Action

 

Last week’s Friday night game was a much more mouth-watering prospect than the last, but unfortunately Suphanburi and Buriram failed to serve up anything particularly interesting. Suphanburi at least picked something resembling their strongest XI this week, with Chananan, Thanasit and big centre half Anderson returning to the action. Buriram again didn’t field their new Japanese midfielder Hajime Hosogai, but their real problem position is further forward. New strikers Modibo Maiga and Pedro Junior both seemed to be trying to outdo each other with their poor build up play and even worse finishing. The most entertaining moments of the 0-0 draw were served up by Port loanee Kim Sung-hwan and captain Sinthaweechai, who were both vying for control of their teammates when defending set-pieces. Unfortunately we were deprived of a Keane vs. Schmeichel style standoff. Seeing Kim move his players around like chess pieces while defending corners was as good as it got. Bring on Saturday!

The early kickoff saw Prachuap host PTT Rayong; two teams with serious man power at their disposal. In the orange corner, big Montenegrin Adnan Orahovac was at the back, with Uzbek chest of drawers Artyom Filopsyan holding court in midfield and everyone’s favourite goal shy battering ram Siroch Chatthong waiting for his chance from the bench. In the blue corner were the Victors. Ref-bothering colossus Victor Cardozo partnered with Nigerian born Indonesian Victor Igbonefo, with the mercurial man mountain Jay Emmanuel Thomas looking uncomfortable on the bench. No wonder, he could barely fit on the thing. After numerous dust-ups, usually following Victor Cardozo’s forward forays from set-pieces, Prachuap eventually eked out a 2-0 win, with new Brazilians Mathaeus Alves and Caion – his second in the opening two games – doing the damage.

I didn’t catch even a glimpse of the Chonburi vs. Samut Prakan City game, which is a shame as it threw up an interesting result. Joining Prachuap on 6 points at the top of the table are, against all odds, Samut Prakan City, who managed a 2-0 victory over The Sharks. Apparently they were second best for large periods of the match, but new striker Ibson Melo was the difference, with his brace securing an unlikely victory. Goalkeeper Anurak also made an important contribution, although he was helped out by a player I’m usually full of praise for – Chonburi’s Worachit – who flinched away from the ball when all he had to do was get something on it to score. It’s a bit of an embarrassing defeat for a Chonburi team who have been tipped to do well this season.

 

 

But finally, this week’s main course. A busy Thammasat Stadium (I’m not kidding, there were actually quite a few people there) saw Bangkok United end their winless streak against Muangthong, who were condemned to a second consecutive 0-1 defeat by a clinical Bonilla header. Muangthong didn’t played too badly though, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise for them to get something out of the game. Defender Oh Ban-suk particularly impressed me at the back, before getting himself injured. He’ll be out for a month. The man with the spotlight on him is manager Pairoj, though. He dutifully hammered the second nail into his red, Yamaha sponsored coffin by once again opting for hapless Adisak Kraisorn up top, while this time leaving both Aung Thu and Mario Gjuroviski on the bench. Keep it up ‘fella, we’re rooting for you!

Rounding off Saturday were Chiang Mai and Sukhothai. Apparently I watched the second half of this appalling 0-0 draw, but for the life of me I can’t recall a single thing that happened. Oh no, I remember. They were both rubbish.

Sunday’s 18:00 kickoffs produced much more excitement. Trat are putting on quite a show so far in 2019, and this time it wasn’t all about last week’s star man Lonsana Doumbouya. So-called striker suffering severely from short-man syndrome Chenrop Samphaodi drew Trat level on 74 minutes, before Chalermsak Kaewuktae (no, me neither) put them ahead just minutes later. Of course, seeing out games against Chainat is notoriously difficult (just ask Bangkok Glass), and to no-one’s surprise the Hornbills called on everything at their disposal to snatch a late draw. First, they managed to convince the entire Trat defence to simultaneously stop moving, then they asked very nicely for the benefit of the doubt from the linesman, whose flag stayed stuck to his side while Ricardo Santos mishit his shot past a hopelessly stranded goalkeeper. Textbook Chainat.

I was too busy watching Port to take in Chiang Rai’s visit to Korat, but the highlights are a decent watch. Unsurprisingly Chiang Rai found a way to come out on top, with both Bills contributing to a hard fought 2-1 win. Thin Bill got the party started when he back-heeled a cross on to his standing leg, leaving his defender for dead, before then back-heeling it in to the back of the net. Cunning. Korat then managed to beak the scrappy meter with their equalizer. An absolute mess of an attempted clearance or two from a Chiang Rai defender only succeeded in presenting the ball to Amadou Outtara, who willingly obliged from about 5 centimetres out. The Bills then combined for Chiang Rai’s 75th minute winner. A Korat defender got much too square against Thin Bill in the box, who went past him, and flew convincingly over his challenge. In fairness I think it was actually a foul, and Fat Bill agreed, dispatching the penalty extremely calmly to seal the win. Good start for the Beetles from a tough couple of opening fixtures.

Port finished off the weekend in almost the perfect way, keeping another clean sheet and scraping past Ratchaburi thanks to a Boskovic penalty. Our report is here. Unfortunately Port suffered yet more injury woe, with Nurul picking up an knock that is going to keep him out for 6 weeks. Over to you, Bodin…

 

Public Enemy Number One

 

 

Candidates are thin on the ground this time out, with only a couple really standing out. Ibson Melo gets an honourable mention for his two goals against Chonburi, but I was even more impressed by Artyom Filiposyan and his thousand yard stare. He loves a good tackle, is brutal in the air and will offer Prachuap’s defence excellent protection this season. He reminds me of Alex Jones in both build and temperament. There, I said it. Please don’t hurt me, Artyom. I didn’t turn the frogs gay, I promise!

 

Results and Highlights

 

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

 

Suphanburi 0-0 Buriram

Prachuap 2-0 PTT Rayong

Chonburi 0-2 Samut Prakan City

Bangkok United 1-0 Muangthong 

Chiang Mai 0-0 Sukhothai

Trat 2-2 Chainat

Nakhon Ratchasima 1-2 Chiang Rai

Port 1-0 Ratchaburi

 

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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